The lights dimmed, purple drapes drew back and silhouettes of dancers wearing fit-flared dresses formed on stage. A full house on opening night ignited as an up-beat acoustic tune filled the room.
University Theater showcased Old Dominion University’s annual Dance Theatre Spring Concert on Wednesday, with shows scheduled into the weekend.
“Opening night is always a lot of energy– both nerves and excitement at the same time, so it’s special. There’s only one opening night, and it was really lovely to see them come to life on stage tonight,” Assistant Dance Professor Megan Thompson said.
The audience silenced their phones and conversations as Associate Dance Professor Amanda Kinzer began the night with a brief opening speech. Kinzer applauded the dancers for their hard work and talent, which illuminated the stage with ballroom, jazz and modern dance.
A total of nine acts demonstrated the choreographed collaboration between the dancers and faculty. Artistic Director of Anahata Dance and guest artist, Natalie Teichmann, was a vital aid to such artistic expression.
“Natalie Teichmann brought a poem and distributed individual lines from the poem to the dancers and they had to make up vocabulary based on the words. Some of that did eventually get incorporated into the piece within the structure of her own choreography,” Thompson said.
Dancers Lauren Kidd, Stacia Major and Madeline Samarazea performed ODU dancer and graduate student, Sheena Jeffer’s, “Intransigence.” Jeffers explained how the choreography was inspired by a common human experience, the experience of how ideas, good or bad, can torment ones mind. “Intransigence” was the artistic portrayal of this inner turbulence through modern dance.
“I wanted to take that and put it into movement. I sat down with myself and thought, when an idea is pestering me, what does that feel like? What does that look like? What does that read like to an audience?” Jeffers said.
The result, dancers in all white flowed to a robotic blending of tribal sounding hand percussions. A black backdrop contrasted the dancers and a playful altering of stage light as a plunging spotlight would disperse into a lightly dimmed stage.
Each act differed stylistically and evoked distinct emotions from the crowd. The dancing duo between dancer and choreographer Elijah Motley and dancer Elizabeth Humes in “A Day at the Park” was jazzy and flirty while “Night Envy” was provocative and electric with its sensual outfits and red hue lighting.
When the purple curtain dropped, the dancers received a roaring applause followed by whistling ‘bravo’s’ and ‘hurrah’s.’
“We felt really good at the end when the curtain came down everybody just squeezed hands and we were all so really happy,” Jeffer’s said
Two ODU students shared positive feedback at the end of the show. “I thought it was cool overall, it was neat, ” Gavin Jones said.
Aaron Dilworth said, “The show was really well put together and I really enjoyed it.”
An upcoming dance event to stamp on the calendar will be held on May 31 at the University Theater. Information or tickets for the Rituals Faculty Dance Concert can be found at www.odartsix.com or call 683-3002.