The Theatre Building’s Mainstage saw a variety of action at Thursday night’s opening of DanceWorks 2007.
CU’s annual faculty dance concert received a wide reception while bringing original contemporary art to the stage. DanceWorks 2007 showcases work by guest choreographers Gabriel Masson, Rennie Harris and Nancy Spanier. CU dance faculty members Michelle Ellsworth, Onye Ozuzu and Nada Diachenko also feature work in the concert that will run through Sunday.
The concert features six different pieces. The first of the night was “Salt Machine,” choreographed by Ellsworth. This piece set the tone for a night of contemporary and modern dance. “Salt Machine” is an interdisciplinary piece that incorporates a player piano, video cameras and microphones for the dancers, a video backdrop, and as the name says, salt. The eight dancers poured salt over their bodies as video cameras projected the images onto a screen.
“You have to be open minded to watch that,” said Mara Crestani, a freshman dance and environmental studies major. “You have to think of it as ‘this is art, and I’m going to take it as whatever it is.'”
Masson was asked to fill in for a teacher on leave and has been teaching at CU since September. Masson, who lives in San Diego, has been teaching two-week-long summer dance workshops at CU for the past three years.
Crestani had Masson as a teacher last semester for ballet and is currently taking modern dance with him. She describes Masson as energetic and excited.
He has two pieces in DanceWorks 2007. The first piece, “Distance,” was performed by Masson and Toby Hankin an Associate Professor, as well as the Associate Chair of Theatre and Dance, and Director of Dance at CU.
Masson said he always creates his pieces from an emotional space.
“‘Distance’ is about my life,” Masson said. “My partner lives in San Diego. It’s about having a relationship from a distance-coming together and apart.”
Masson’s other piece, “Power: Play,” was performed by his four-person dance troop which he brought to campus for the show.
“It’s about the subtext that goes on when people have conversations,” Masson said about the piece. “There’s often repressed anger.”
Although both of Masson’s pieces have a meaning behind them, Crestani says that not every piece of work has an intentional meaning.
“Choreographers usually have an inspiration, sometimes it’s music,” Crestani said. “You take it for whatever you want it to be, and sometimes it’s just visual, like ‘Vector.'”
“Vector,” choreographed by Ozuzu in collaboration with sculptor Steve Silber, is another interdisciplinary piece and has dancers moving through a sculptural web of fabric.
The piece that ended the night was “Lavender Lover,” choreographed by Harris, an internationally known hip-hop fusion choreographer. During his three-week residency at CU, Harris worked with students to make a contemporary hip-hop piece.
Katya Hott, a senior linguistics major, had heard of Harris and tried out for his piece. Hott is a breakdancer, or B-girl, with the Front Range Rockers crew. Hott described her experience working with Harris as being different.
“It had more feeling to it than anything I’ve done,” Hott said.
Each year DanceWorks brings new guest choreographers to campus, but Masson will be sticking around longer than expected. CU has asked him to stay another year after his term is over in May, which Masson said was very successful.
“I’ve taught all over the country,” Masson said. “But I find this place very special. There are very special people and I’m grateful and honored to be here.”
For more information about DanceWorks 2007, visit DanceWorks 2007
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Jenny Bergen at Jennifer.email@example.com.