Every year, UNC Charlotte’s Dance Department works hard to put on their annual fall dance concert. The choreography comes from many esteemed choreographers in the dance world and features a variety of styles, from ballet to vintage jazz. It features performances from various students in the department.
The concert opened with a large group number entitled, “Triangle Circle Square.” Dancers in bright red and yellow costumes performed this upbeat dance that had a special focus on geometric patterns. This was seen clearly in the choreography by Delia Neil. The dancers often held their arms in straight lines and organized themselves in various formations such as circles and V shapes.
By far, the most moving dance of the evening was “Broken Pärts,” choreographed by Rachel T. Tucker. It explores the experience of loss by examining the five stages of grief: denial, isolation, guilt, anger and acceptance. It begins with a sole dancer in front of a black curtain, clearly distraught. She begins to move through her loss and is then joined by three other dancers. I watched as the dancers moved ever closer to each other, almost touching, before they pulled themselves away in isolation. The performance sent chills up my spine. Each dancer truly showcased the emotions in the piece, one can even hear their distraught breaths over the sound of the music. In the end, the dancer comes through her loss to the other side and runs into the audience. It’s truly beautiful to watch.
Following this came “Flower Festival at Genzano Pas de Deux,” a ballet duet choreographed by August Bournonville. The dancers were playful with one another and had excellent chemistry. They allowed each to showcase their individual talents in solos and then join together for their duets. It leaves the viewer feeling excited and happy, a great contrast to “Broken Pärts.”
Opening the concert after intermission came a trio ballet number named “Sleeping Beauty Act III Jewels.” Similar to the previous dance, this piece allowed for many different arrangements of the performers. Not only did they perform in a trio, they also split into duets where each had individual solos. By doing this, choreographer Marius Petipa gave each dancer a moment to shine and showcase their abilities. The costumes for this dance were exceptionally gorgeous, covered in silver jewels and topped off with large sparkling crowns.
“I.I.W.I.I. Revisited” provided a strong contrast from the previous dances, adding a bit of almost musical theater style performance. The group of dancers performed an arrangement of vintage jazz dances while playing various characters with names like Saucin’ Susie and Jivin’ Joanie. The steps such as Rubber Legs and Scarecrow are authentic as are the floor patterns. The dancers exuded energy and the entire dance felt fun and unique. It was arranged by Karen W. Hubbard in collaboration with the Jazz Apple Dancers and the current cast of dancers. It was originally performed in the spring 2014 dance concert.
The final dance of the night was “Esplanade (Section 1)” choreographed by Paul Taylor. It is a group number performed to “Violin Concerto in E Major” and “Double Concerto for Two Violinists in D Minor” by Bach. The dance feels very fresh and modern, and much of it does not resemble traditional dance. The performers move lightly, almost seeming to float.
The evening was a truly entertaining experience. Watching it, one can see how much talent UNCC’s Dance Department contains. I’d highly recommend attending one of the department’s performances to any student. Performances were held Nov 3-5 in the Belk Theater in Robinson Hall.