Dance Festival


Logan Curry
  Staff Writer

On Friday and Saturday Nov. 13 and 14, UNCG hosted the 25th annual North Carolina Dance Festival in memory of Jan Van Dyke, Festival Founder and Artistic Director, who recently passed away this July.

Friday night’s performance took place in the UNCG Dance Theater at 7:30 p.m. Dancers put on their game faces as they performed for a diverse audience of old and young.

The performance featured a wide variety of interpretive dances that were extremely symbolic and even emotional. The audience sat in silent awe, as they could only imagine what the dancers were trying to convey in their impressive movements.

The first performance featured a group of dancers who delicately glided across the stage accompanied by Latin background music.

A unique aspect of their performance was the fast transition between three costume changes during their set. An audience member whispered to this writer during the middle of their performance that, “they look like children playing.” This was true, as their performance had a certain innocence and delicacy in it.

Some of the dances were intriguing in the way performers were able to blend acting with dancing. The dancers got in touch with the characters they performed and conveyed this through a range of expressions.

The performance that followed was a dramatic solo dance accompanied by violin.

The amount of control the dancer held in her body movements was a particularly impressive display of skill. Her dancing form changed rapidly, showcasing her ability to transform movement into different expressions of emotions.

At one moment, she was completely still, and in the next, she was wildly flailing. This quickly shifted over and over again to continuous, mock collapses to reflect instability, and perhaps failure.

The viewer was able to infer the story of the dance as a dance student pressured by her parents to enroll in a strenuous dancing program, which forced her body to its limits; ultimately, the dance showed the consequences of breaking these limits.

The stressed, mechanical nature of her movements reflected this, as well as the pained facial expressions and dramatic twirls that ended in a tumble of despair.

Throughout each dance, viewers were left to interpret the message dancers sought to convey in their movements. What was the subject of each dance?  The answer is more complicated than the spins, leaps and precise movements shaped by each performer.

However, one of the more unique dances didn’t involve much dancing.

It was a dance inspired by the ancient Roman period that stressed the ways in which it was an unfortunate fate to be a woman during this time period. This was displayed through two women in chairs that seemed to be connected to them, as if they weren’t allowed to get up.

One of the women was dressed in a robe, and she carried a table with a rope on it to convey the ways in which women were chained to their surrounding duties.

One of the women lamented about her unfortunate circumstance as a woman, relating it to an Aristotle quote.

The festival reflected a focus on artistic expression through skillful, complex styles of dance and visual performance.

This year, the performers of the North Carolina Dance festival did right by their late founder.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Features, Human Interest, Uncategorized

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