Fall dance show incorporates abstract and real elements of construction


Daniel Tian/Daily Senior Staffer

Communication senior Annalissa Hartsell rehearses for “Under Construction,” the fall dance concert. Presented by the New Movement Project, the show opens Thursday at the Wirtz Center Ballroom.

Amanda Svachula, Assistant A&E Editor


“Under Construction,” The New Movement Project’s upcoming fall dance concert, incorporates elements of construction in the choreography, which reflects the setting the dancers have been working in at the Wirtz Center.

“The dance department is literally under construction, and we have construction workers walking in and out of our rehearsals,” said producer and Communication sophomore Caroline Spikner. “But a lot of the pieces themselves are about different disabilities and change, and the idea that our identities are constantly under construction.”

Running this weekend, the show will feature nine choreographers in a series of eight different dances. Production began at the end of September.

This year’s creative process has been more collaborative than in the past, as it has included a series of workshops and rehearsals in front of an adviser, said Communication senior Paige Lester, one of the choreographers.

“It’s a much stronger and cohesive show because of these things,” Lester said.

The dances each stand alone, but in the production process an underlying theme became apparent, Spikner said.

“I’m interested to see how the audiences react to the individual pieces and if they see the line coming through them,” Spikner said. “They definitely take on a more artistic and really unique meanings that go into their dances, as opposed to showing how good people are or what they can do.”

Lester’s piece, which features three dancers, differs from conventional choreography because of its movement, Lester said.

“I really took a different route and my piece is much different than what people usually think of when they think of dance,” Lester said. “It uses raw and pedestrian movement to convey a story and emotion.”

Her choreography fits into the theme “Under Construction” through the relationship among the dancers in the piece, who act as siblings.

“There’s an emotional disconnect between the dancers,” she said. “They have to learn to work together with those differences. It’s about self discovery and finding that you, yourself, are under construction and their relationship is also under construction.”

Communication senior Savannah Couch’s dance relates to the theme through the construction of the physical body.

As part of a research grant, she spent last year studying different organizations that offered performance training to those with disabilities. She has used this experience to think about how different movements work better for different types of bodies, she said.

“I tried to learn how to choreograph energy instead of just different shapes,” she said.

The show runs from Thursday, Nov. 12, to Saturday, Nov. 14, in the Wirtz Center Ballroom.

“Honestly, there are really brilliant choreographers that worked on this,” Couch said. “There are many moving pieces with such a human element to them that there’s something for everyone to connect to.”

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Twitter: @amandasvachula