For several months, Franklin & Marshall College dance students have been preparing for the Fall Dance Concert, rehearsing with faculty instructors and guest choreographers to present a range of innovative works for the campus stage.
From Dec. 3 to 5 in Roschel Performing Arts Center's Schnader Theatre, audiences will have the opportunity to see the students display their skills in cutting-edge performances that include two works from an F&M faculty member.
For the first time at F&M, the Department of Theatre, Dance and Film brings a work by the late American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham. "Canfield MinEvent" draws on movement material from Cunningham's 1969 masterpiece, "Canfield." Cunningham died in 2009 at age 90.
Cunningham's work is rich and unconventional, Assistant Professor of Dance Jennifer Conley said.
"Instead of working with music in his creative process with dancers in the studio, Cunningham worked with a stopwatch while the composer was off working in his or her own studio," she said. "The two elements were brought together only in performance."
Talia Beck of Tel Aviv, a guest choreographer this semester, will present a new version of her dance, "Botany of Desire," described as mixing video with movement in a garden of love, loss and time's passage.
Under Beck's direction, sophomore Charles Hagist and six other students performed an excerpt of the work in an early November preview during the College's Common Hour. He spoke about the intensity Beck brings to her choreography.
"In her piece, I discovered a world of intimate abstraction," he said. "Every time I experience performing this piece I experience a lifetime."
Students also will perform works from several other choreographers including two by F&M Associate Professor of Dance Pamela Vail, "Descent" and "The Logic of Mutual Inclusion." Vail describes the art of dance as nonverbal communication through body and movement.
"Think about it: you have a body; you are a body. In watching other bodies move through space, you are connected by default," Vail said. "The body is extremely expressive, more than we know, and extremely receptive."
If You Go: Fall Dance Concert, Schnader Theatre, Roschel Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., Dec. 3-5. Get tickets: $10 ($5 for faculty and staff; $1 for students)