ARCH Concert Tells Stories Through Dance


Senior Lindsey Derbyshire dances with passion in one of her last performances at Colgate.

Alex Weimer, Maroon-News Staff

Colgate’s Advanced Contemporary Dance class performed at Brehmer Theatre in the Dana Arts Center on Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26 at 7 p.m.; the ARCH showcase was the class’ final project and a chance for the students to perform their own choreographed pieces. 

The students were involved in a lot of work both inside and outside of the classroom. “We did a variety of in-class exercises that helped prepare us to choreograph our own pieces, playing with dynamics, speed, shapes, use of space and partnering,” member of the class senior Gabby Greenberg said.

 Each student was responsible for choreographing their own pieces and coming up with the unique stories or ideas they were trying to portray. Greenberg’s piece was about finding strength and a sense of steadiness in the face of constant instability. 

“In my choreography I tried to convey a sense of being caught in an ocean current, being moved unpredictably and not completely of my volition,” she said.

 Throughout the night, students represented a variety of ideas and styles through their dances. Senior Maya Cao’s piece was a discussion of two relationships and the process of becoming acquainted and detached through a fusion of Tibetan folk dance and contemporary dance. Sophomore Tariro Chinyanganya’s piece was a hip-hop/ballet fusion designed to push the boundaries of dance genres set to a cover of Kanye West’s song “Paris.”  

Apart from choreographing their own pieces, students were challenged through learning and working with their professor as well as guest choreographers Hyoin Jun and Tsui-shuang Lai. Professor Avaunt’s piece involved all six students in the class. Avaunt’s piece experimented with the use of sound and movement. Instead of dancing to music in a traditional sense, the dancers had to dance to sounds of various beats, noises and glitches. The description of the piece stated that the “dancers are challenged to listen to each other and the aural soundscape rather than counting the music in a traditional sense.” 

The class was then broken into two groups, each of which would be paired with a guest choreographer whom they would work with outside of class. The first piece was “Personal Stories” by Hyoin Jun and was described as “a dance piece created through developing gestural movements based on the dancer’s personal stories.” The piece was meant to highlight each dancer as an individual as well as finding a way to work together as a whole. The piece started with the three dancers entering, huddled in a group on the stage. They each sang a different note and proceeded to execute the dance through movements unique to each individual but were drawn together through the way the dancers worked together. 

The second piece was “Journey Passage” by Tsui-shuang Lai, based on “three women exploring notions of travel (geographically and from one stage of life to the next).” The piece started with a powerful solo by sophomore Megan Meier where each of her movements were emphasized by the chalk she had been covered in, leaving traces of her past movements in the air and on the ground. The piece also had a video element by senior Ané Wanliss that added to the visual journey. 

The evening combined a variety of perspectives and styles to present both the hard work of the class and the ways in which movement can serve to embody storytelling in unexpected manners. The infusion of professional and student viewpoints led to an evening of dance that left the audience inspired.  

Contact Alex Weimer at [email protected].