Grad Dance Concert to Explore Identity
This year’s MFA
Dance Concert, always a popular winter event, features
new works by four second-year graduate students in dance.
The concert, titled You/Me/Here/NOW, will take place Thursday
through Saturday, February 14 to16, at 8 p.m. each night
in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts.
the choreographic creations of Vanessa Anspaugh, Aretha
Aoki, Maura Donohue, and Meredith Lyons. The concert explores
shared experiences of being in the present moment, of personal
identity, and of group identity—its
dynamics and tension.
Vanessa Anpsaugh presents
an exploration in “nothingness.” From
the slow moment-to-moment unfolding of the human character
drifting in and around murky and precise spaces, living photographs
emerge and fade representing a documentation of the present.
With sudden jerking ticks, gnarled twists, and a rendered
pawing at time, this psychological landscape reveals glimpses
of both a personal and communal consciousness that is hauntingly
absurd, acutely mundane, and pointedly spacious.
Aretha Aoki’s performance project investigates identity
as the gap between expectation and lived experience, and
the boundaries (real or imagined) between the group and the
individual. Four dancers receive direction on stage from
an outsider. The outsider’s desire for inclusion as
well as distance is mirrored by the dancers and, sometimes,
the relationship is inverted with small encounters emerging.
Maura Donohue showcases
16 dancers using video, improvisational performance, interactive
technology, and a treatment of the performance venue meant
to invoke an interactive and immersive experience for the
audience as well as the artist within the confines of a
formal space. “Present TENSE/Present
CONTINUOUS” challenges the traditional notion of a
fixed, concert-based dance work by inviting a relationship
of reciprocity between dancer and viewer, allowing the audience
to influence the direction and realization of each night’s
performance. In doing so, Donohue takes both a profound and
light-hearted look at the inevitable passage of time, reveling
in the constantly unfolding moment while teasing out considerations
of nostalgia and impermanence. Donohue, who spent over a
decade in New York City directing her performance troupe
Maura Nguyen Donohue/inmixedcompany, has been noted by the Village
Voice for her “sumptuous craftsmanship and caustic
sense of humor” and by the New York Times for
her “work’s emotional intensity.”
Meredith Lyons presents a new quartet exploring the uniqueness
within community. Four dancers bring their individual personas
and singular characterizations into points of conflict with
themselves and between one another, and who also find each
other in times of need. Using contemporary movement the dancers
display a pure honesty to themselves and to the audience.
Lyons takes ideas and images of conflict and trauma from
the past as her creative springboard and interweaves them
to create searing, visceral dances.
Tickets for the concert are $9, general public, $5 for students
and seniors. Call 413-585-ARTS (2787). For more information,