Last weekend, the Headlong Dance Theater performed their adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s novel, “Shosha.” The performance was held on Friday night and Saturday night at 8 p.m. in the Brehmer Theater of the Charles A. Dana Arts Center. Admission was free, as the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation funded
The Headlong Dance Theater is a dance company from Philadelphia, PA. They created this particular performance in 2006. It had been performed at a variety of different locations, both nationally and internationally, before being brought to Colgate. The performance is an example of Dance Theater, a type of hybrid performance that encourages performers to break rules, blaze new paths and push themselves. “Shosha” combines unique music, dance, costumes and props. The characters also integrate humor into their story, often through interaction with the audience.
The perforrmace portrays the lives of several different characters living in a Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw, Poland during the 1930s. Shosha is the the female lead, a woman who is in love with a womanizer named Ari who she has known since childhood. As the performance progresses, Ari and Shosha fall in love and marry. At the end of the piece, Shosha dies and the Nazis come to Warsaw. Five talented actors and actresses from Headlong Dance Theater acted out the story in a manner that allowed the audience to connect with the story and recognize humor within
“I enjoy the process as much as the product. It’s enjoyable work,” said Amy Smith, one of the actresses.
Smith was one of the co-founders of Headlong Dance Theater in 1993. She has been involved with directing and choreographing Headlong Dance Theater performances since its creation. When asked if she had any advice for those attending the show who didn’t know much about dance theater, she advised theatergoers to know that it’s okay to laugh. Smith and the other co-founders have been trained in a wide array of different dance styles, which they fuse together to bring the unique dance that can be seen in their performances.
This performance of “Shosha” was the culmination of a five-day residency that the Headlong Dance Theater did at Colgate through the Christian A. Johnson Artists-in-Residence in Theater Program. The residency included a dance workshop on February 5 called “Action, Image, Text: Making Original, Ensemble Performance.”
“We are trying to get people thinking and talking about theater in new ways. ‘Shosha’ makes the audience stop and think about the ways they are telling the story, while also playing with humor,” Assistant Professor of English in the University Theater Christian DuComb aid. Professor DuComb has ties to the Headlong Dance Theater and is partially responsible for bringing the performance to Colgate.
“I think it’s great to see a dance group brought in from outside, especially something so unique,” Sophomore Paige Brooks said. Brooks is involved in the Colgate Dance Initiative, as well as variety of dance groups. She, along with other students at the performance, enjoyed the opportunity to be exposed to a different type of dance on campus.