Students Choreograph, Perform at Dance Concert


LJ Coady

EMOTION IN MOTION: Junior Marissa Senger and senior Willow Goff (pictured left to right) gave vulnerable and moving performances at the Spring Dance Concert last week.

Colgate University senior Willow Goff and junior Marissa Senger, both students in the Department of Theater’s Contemporary Dance Class, performed at their Spring Dance Concert on April 19, 20 and 21. Under the tutelage of Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Yildiz Guventurk, Goff and Senger performed four pieces as part of an interdisciplinary class project.

The first and fourth dances were duets. The first duet, “A Mobile Untethered,” was danced to composer Doug Barber and choreographed by guest artist Emily Craver. “A Mobile Untethered” was dynamic and artistic, a strong opening to the show.

The second dance was a solo, choreographed and performed by Goff. Goff danced to Ben Platt’s “Grow As We Go,” which showcased Goff’s emotional mastery. The senior’s dancing was fluid and smooth, and the dynamic performance highlighted her storytelling abilities as a performer.

For the third dance, Senger also performed a solo. The piece, “A Story of Separation,” was choreographed by Senger and set to “I Was Never There” by the Weeknd. In contrast to the gentler tones of the previous two dances, the intensity of Senger’s music was breathtakingly startling, fitting well with her sharp and precise style. Senger’s ballet background was clear in many steps and blended with more abstract and contemporary moves.

Because the solos were both self-choreographed by the student dancers, there was a vulnerability and emotional exposure that enhanced the viewer’s experience. Senger and Goff allowed the audience inside their minds, giving them the opportunity to understand something beyond words.

“I feel our performances displayed our dedication to the class and hopefully had meaning to our audience,” Senger said.

Guventurk choreographed the last duet, “In Between, We Dance,” in collaboration with the dancers. The dance was set to “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” by Nina Simone, and “CTG” by Branko. The dancers used props and costume pieces to set a casual scene, evoking a sense of familiarity. The dance felt warm and playful at first, before shifting into more vibrant energy. There was something enticing about the palpable emotive power of Goff and Senger, a feeling that was almost tangible.

When asked how she felt about her performance, Goff expressed pride in her performance and was grateful for the assistance she had throughout the process:

“I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to take Contemporary Dance in Performance and learn from Yildiz Guventurk, Emily Craver and Marissa Senger,” Goff said. “I am very proud of our performances and feel as though they reflected our hard work throughout the semester in addition to the dedication and talent of the stage, lighting, and sound crew.”

Senger echoed the sentiments expressed by Goff, thanking those who were involved in the creation and execution of the performance.

“I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to expand my dance experiences through the course Contemporary Dance in Performance, and I appreciate how it has introduced me to the contemporary choreographic process,” Senger said.

The Spring Dance Concert was a multi-faceted experience; the collection of choreographers created a multitude of emotional sequences, which sophomore Caroline Collins found impactful.

“The Spring Dance Concert really embodied the voices of the different choreographers and dancers through the various techniques and style choices,” Collins said. “So much can be said through dance, and the stories they told in these pieces were truly moving.”

The range of choreographers was also a highlight for senior Gia D’Erasmo.

“The performance was amazing,”  D’Erasmo said. “It was really great to see how different choreographers created different dances with various kinds of music.”

The dancing was not the only visual. Goff and Senger worked in collaboration with students taking the Film & Media Studies Department’s Disability Media course to create digital background elements for the performances. They truly mesmerized the audience, including senior Carla Perdomo, who enjoyed the various types of art presented.

“It was nice to see [Goff] and [Senger] dance,” Perdomo said. “I’m in one of [Yildiz Guventurk’s] classes and it was nice to see a correlation between [Goff and Senger’s] dances and what we’ve been taught in class and how it expresses story through their movement and their emotions, and just see how their own interpretation of dance was seen through those visuals.”

“I will always hold a special sentiment for this event and all dance in my life,” Senger concluded.