11/19/2015 Peter Durantine

Fall Dance Concert: Communicating Through Body and Movement

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."

  • Carol Teitelbaum, a movement educator and former member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, was one of three guest choreographers teaching F&M students technique in the fall semester. Carol Teitelbaum, a movement educator and former member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, was one of three guest choreographers teaching F&M students technique in the fall semester. Image Credit: Eric Forberger
  • Belinda McGuire, a dancer, director and choreographer who performs through the Belinda McGuire Dance Projects, demonstrates the eloquence of dance. Belinda McGuire, a dancer, director and choreographer who performs through the Belinda McGuire Dance Projects, demonstrates the eloquence of dance. Image Credit: Eric Forberger
  • Talia Beck, an acclaimed Israeli dancer and choreographer, works with students who will perform a new version of "Botany of Desire." Talia Beck, an acclaimed Israeli dancer and choreographer, works with students who will perform a new version of "Botany of Desire." Image Credit: Eric Forberger
  • At the Nov. 12 Common Hour's Fall Dance Concert preview, Lynn Brooks, the Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor of Humanities and Dance, discusses the concert's focus on "genre, style and abstraction." At the Nov. 12 Common Hour's Fall Dance Concert preview, Lynn Brooks, the Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor of Humanities and Dance, discusses the concert's focus on "genre, style and abstraction." Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Five young women in a motionless pose to illustrate a point Brooks makes in her discussion about abstraction of the "actual." Five young women in a motionless pose to illustrate a point Brooks makes in her discussion about abstraction of the "actual." Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Sophomores Charley Hagist and Rebecca Buchanan perform an excerpt of "Botany of Desire" during Common Hour. Sophomores Charley Hagist and Rebecca Buchanan perform an excerpt of "Botany of Desire" during Common Hour. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • (6)	Students performing Associate Professor of Dance's Pamela Vail's "Descent." (6) Students performing Associate Professor of Dance's Pamela Vail's "Descent." Image Credit: Deb Grove

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)

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