By Stephanie Butzer
“Passion, Commitment and Artistry.”
Elon Dance Program’s new motto propelled them from August to November’s opening night for the Dancing in the Black Box performance. Four faculty members and four dance majors choreographed the eight individual works in Elon Dance Program’s main stage fall dance.
Each work’s music, costume, lighting and choreography emitted a different emotion for the audience to pick up on and interpret as their own. Some were emotional and dramatic while others were witty or comical.
“It evokes something from the audience and it could be different feelings from every person,” Jen Guy, the artistic director of the show, said. “Every choreographer started off with an idea or a story and they leave their interpretation up to the audience.”
The performance opened and closed with large group performances, with scattered solos, duets and groups in between. The varying work sizes kept the audience on their toes as the lights dimmed before every piece.
What they saw when the lights lit up the stage was visual emotion. In small sets, 33 dancers jumped, slid, crawled, rolled and fought across the stage. Some of the pieces evoked sympathy for a specific dancer as she moved slowly and thoughtfully through the routine. Others were moving so wildly it looked like they would trip or stumble, but there were close to no errors throughout the entire performance.
One emotion that was examined in almost all of the pieces was an abstract aggression. In several pieces the dancers threw punches, kicks or elbows while others delicately avoided the blows.
This type of abstraction is common in the Elon department as well as other dance programs, Guy said.
Comedy, on the other hand, is not seen too often in dance. The two are rarely meshed into a single performance, but Dancing in the Black Box included two works that successfully, and purposefully, produced laughter. They were light-hearted and simple to watch especially after intense performances where dancers spun around each other like dualing tornados.
Students had the chance to choreograph or perform for the show. The dancer positions were open to all students and majors. Guy said the show had dancers from first-years to seniors and their majors were not always dance.
No matter what their background, this experience will help them further develop their skills, Guy said.
“It’s good for them because it’s a professional level performance and we’re training them to be professionals out in the dance field,” she said.
“I think its going to be better than they could imagine,” Guy said about the audience. “The people who have seen it come and they sit there and go, ‘ wow. This is so much better than I’ve seen in a lot of college dance programs. It’s like a real dance company.’”