By Amanda Ott
On Saturday November 3rd I attended the matinee performance DANCE/Hartwell, a concert performed by students in the College at Brockport Department of Dance. I had previously attended a concert in the Strasser studio, and it was very interesting to observe the differences between a studio and theater performance. I enjoyed the performances very much.
The first piece of the show, entitled Beat It, was a piece by Janet Schroeder. It was a rhythm dance, and very well done. It must have taken a great deal of work to get it to sound so musical. My favorite part was when the dancers used vocals. It created an interesting effect with their other rhythmic movements such as clapping and stomping. The second piece was a solo called In the Quick. I thought that it was danced strongly and that it was overall well done. I also liked the costume; I thought it added to the strength of the performance to see the physical strength of the dancer.
Ensconce was magnificent. It had so many moments that inspired me to amazement. I wish I had retained the words to describe it, but what is left impressed on my memory is just the feeling that I was watching something quite extraordinary. I also thought the projection of shapes in the background was aesthetically pleasing. This was one of my favorite dances.
The next dance, entitled Rapunzel’s Shoes, was very enjoyable. I liked when the dancer walked forward with her helmeted head on the floor. It was a unique movement choice. I also felt that the rhythm made by the items being thrown into the bucket matched wonderfully with the movement. When the shoes were dropped into the bucket, it was both a satisfying and amusing moment. I do not know what it meant or why, but I know that I liked it. I do not always hope for a message in a dance; sometimes I just want to see movement in new or strange ways.
The Parable of Eden had a great energy to it! Because of the lyrics, it made me think of being in New York City, but I think the movement had this energy even without the lyrics. I really liked how the dancers came down in front of the stage at the end of the dance. I liked how one dancer was left behind at the end; she was too tired to make it back onstage, illustrating how New York City has a way of wearing people out. Through the Keyhole was a beautiful dance. There was a lot of movement that gestured toward the high space: dancers looked up, they arched their backs, and they leapt in the air. This brought the focus skyward, which I liked.
Infinite Assemblage was also one of my favorite dances of anything I have seen. It was cosmic and beautiful. The music was science-fiction like but also very pretty. The dancers had great technique, form, and presence. This was the type of dance that makes you feel good and think that the universe is a mysterious and wonderful place. I want to see it again!
I really enjoyed Dance/HARTWELL. It is such a pleasure to see the differences in choreography, costuming, lighting, music, and expression from piece to piece. I liked that there was no intermission, and I thought the show was the perfect length to keep me engaged. The theater experience was somewhat different than the Strasser studio experience. It felt more like a staged show, where Strasser felt more like the audience and the dancers were occupying the same space. Overall, DANCE/Hartwell was a great show. I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to see these pieces and enjoy their nuances.