Christina Sears-Etter

Review of Dance Dialogues

March 31, 2016


Dance Dialogues

A Review in Brief This entire performance has refreshed the idea that we can learn from one another through sharing art, which embodies and defines our cultures.

Dance Dialogues

A Review in Brief

Towsley Auditorium, Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor Michigan— I cannot do justice through words what I saw that night but the images will be in my memory and I hope that future performances such as this will take place.

People Dancing “Blue Roses” Choreographed by Elizabeth Schultz

Each dancer is dressed in a shade of blue. The music is sweet as they come into motion with open arms, like petals and stems awakening and blooming. The dancers’ bodies expand and contract to reflect breath and phases of a flower’s life; opening and closing with each day, blooming and wilting, and following the sun’s light.

Sreyashi Dey: Odissi Classical Dance ’Nabadurdga’ Nine forms of a goddess

This Indian goddess has nine forms. She is caring, loving, and compassionate. She has strength and ferocity to defend her subjects, wielding a spear meant for her enemies. She worships the Earth gods in order to provide for her people. The dance puts much emphasis on the feet, which evokes a shaking jingle from the bells on her ankles. A goddess must be versatile in her many forms so that many may worship her and come to love her. If a goddess has exclusively one face, she may only serve one purpose. Likewise, a woman must think of herself as a goddess not for the idea of worship but for self appreciation and self promotion of power and worth. Every woman is queen of her own life, and is goddess of herself.

Chinese Classical Cultural Group: “Wind Dance,”

Three women dressed in traditional garb hold umbrellas. Each woman spins and twirls the umbrella over and around her shoulders in a courteous fashion, almost flirtatiously as if peeking behind at her prospective suitor. She is playful and graceful, yet mysterious and alluring.

Pallavi” fast-paced ‘Lord of Dance,’ Odissi Solo

This dance again emphasizes the feet and produces sound from the ankle bells. It is a fast-paced choreography telling the story of the Lord of Dance. One must have extreme precision, establishing discipline and order. Having achieved a task and executing it well, one may find happy accord and peace in knowing that she is one step closer to reaching her goal. She gives thanks and receives praise, an apprentice at the Lord’s shrine. Her face is very expressive, displaying her intent to be diligent but remain stoic yet at peace on her journey.

People Dancing, “Plus Ultra” Contemporary Modern Dance, Choreography by Christina Sears-Etter

The four dancers begin in sitting positions on the floor. They roll, slowly, around and back into sitting positions before rising to stand, and examine their surroundings. Dancers split into pairs, duets. They rely on each other; give support and companionship, friendship. One lifts the other, literally carries the friend and sets her down gently to rest. Seldom is the quartet united but when it is, the music swells and the choreographic movements paint joy and elation. Upon a separation one covers her mouth with her hand and stumbles, as if she is suffering from an ailment. She is ignored by the others until reaching her partner and, in seeing her state, her partner is affected with the same condition. The other pair takes notice of what has transpired as the music drops into a minor key. The duos are confused about how to handle the situation; the affected couple is humbled as they come to the second seeking help but are excluded, shunned by the unaffected couple. Conflict results and a chase ensues until finally the affected –infected—are left to themselves. She lay on the floor and rolls until her head is supported in her friend’s hands on her lap. The ailment is not fatal, but somewhat debilitating. The “healthy” couple proceeds to walk, arm in arm, solemn and proud, towards off-stage. The second couple scoops off of the floor and follows, with fear and caution, in the same direction but on their own path.

I find this dance to be a metaphor for the stages of life. One is born and finds fascination in everything. Everything evokes curiosity and is new and wonderful until something negative is discovered. We do not want to acknowledge it at first, but that does not eliminate its existence. Soon the entity spreads to others and their curious innocence is soiled. Perhaps it is the truth which we discover and, upon doing so, the world becomes a fearsome place. The couple which found the negative element, I believe disease, is damaged yet humbled, and thinks themselves different from the other couple which may represent those who wish not to see conflict, even deny its existence, wearing rose-colored glasses. The “affected” couple still wishes to identify in some ways with the “healthy” couple, but the latter do not desire to associate with those they see to be different from themselves. There are many correlations for this symbolism which may represent how we, humans, at the very base are the same, but we search for differences in order to make ourselves stand out and heighten our own group with which we identify, and lower others. We will all individually end in the same place—a loss of life—and in my own mind, the sooner that we realize just how alike we are, we may become closer to realizing as well that our differences are not so distinct, and that the variations that we see in others are there for the purpose of seeing beauty.

Dance dialogues: Odissi and Contemporary Dance Collaboration

  This dance is the purpose of the program. Two cultures, both alike in dignity, on the fair stage where we lay our scene, arrive separately and display their traits, then form a union of star-crossed lovers. The Indian dancers enter, stepping heartily with their heels and palms pressed together in the standard pose of joyful accord. The Greek dancers enter, gliding upon the floor with a wondrous flow and grace. The two groups circle each other and gradually begin to imitate each respective movement. Choreography of arms and feet is examined and exchanged until one cannot identify clearly to which culture a given dancer belongs; one does not belong to a culture but self identifies with it and enjoys the act of learning from others.

Ballet Chelsea ‘Flat Room of a Tutu’ Wendy Dubois and Alissa Alger

When I see ballerinas I always think of birds. I am not sure why—perhaps because of Swan Lake—but I do not consider it to be a negative thing. The dancers are feminine and graceful as they take turns on the stage. Each attempt to adhere firmly to the specific task yet still puts her own style on the movements. Many think of ballet as very strict and precise, which in some cases is correct, but creativity and individuality is still present. Each woman is dressed the same but body shapes, facial details, and personal styles of movement differ, showing individualism within conformity.

Great Lakes Taiko drums

 The Japanese are a united people, a strong people. They are diligent and obedient for the sake of the larger cause; loyalty to their homeland. The drums make a storm, an untamed oceanic environment. The people have adapted to their environment and understand its behavior, and so do not show fear of it. They draw strength from each other because as long as they stand together in mass numbers, their legacy will never cease.

In Conclusion

This entire performance has refreshed the idea that we can learn from one another through sharing art which embodies and defines our cultures. This sharing will promote the further knowledge of things outside of one’s own immediate world and understanding of others’ ways of life. In being informed and then understanding other cultures, one –small—step has then been made to potentially resolve at least one global conflict.