Femininity through movement


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UI dance faculty and graduate students will perform this weekend, disproving the “those who can’t do, teach” cliché.

The untitled show will be performed in North Hall’s Space/Place at 8 p.m. today through Saturday. Admission is $12 for nonstudents, $6 for seniors and youth, and free for UI students with valid IDs.

The pieces will feature a range of movement from classical ballet to postmodern dance. The performers will participate in works created by graduate students and faculty.

Arianna Russ, a freshman dance major, said she thinks this production differs from others because “choreographers know their dancers a lot more at this time in the year … [they] know what image they want to portray, and they know exactly who they want to use to portray it, so casting is a lot more fluid.”

Johanna Kirk, a first-year graduate student in the program, said it is a big adjustment to interact with other dancers as students and peers. She remembers being in class and thinking, “Oh, gosh, what are you guys all looking at me for?”

As an undergrad, Russ said, she enjoys working with and learning from graduate students.

“It is all so fresh and exciting,” she said.

The transition to instructing came with a bit of uneasiness for Kirk. Grading is something she found especially challenging.

“[Grading] is hard because it is already hard, but harder because they are peers,” she said.

Fairness in graduate-student grading is regulated in the department through protocol and interaction with faculty.

As a beginner in the program, Kirk said, there was no time to doubt her ability to succeed as a instructor and student.

“You just jump in,” she said.

One of the pieces in the upcoming performance, titled “as is the echo of the pious bell, there, amid the white snow”, which Kirk choreographed, is an excerpt from a longer piece in which the dancers explore contemporary “femininity” through movement.

The piece required a lot of collaboration with the cast as well as an emphasis on imagery.

As the pieces of the production come together, dancers in the department said they are excited to see the final product.

“There are a lot of very talented choreographers creating movement for very talented dancers, so it will definitely be an exciting show,” Russ said.

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