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Dance as a passage of life

BY HANNAH KRAMER | APRIL 22, 2010 7:30 AM

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A family theme resonates in the graduate-student dance thesis concert for student choreographers Keely Glenn and Kate Vigmostad.

Displaying the work of Glenn, Vigmostad, and Chih-Hsien (Joan) Lin and Ana Cortes, the production titled Continuing to w(Rite), will be performed at 8 p.m. today through Saturday in North Hall’s Space/Place. Student admission is free, nonstudent tickets cost $12, and children and senior tickets cost $6.

The importance of family is expressed by Glenn’s piece, “Second Chances,” and Vigmostad’s “Present Reminiscence” with movement that serves to reflect their personal experiences.

Glenn took images from the work of Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte and juxtaposed them with such nursery rhymes as “Humpty Dumpty,” “Jack and Jill,” and “Three Blind Mice.”

She explained the rationale in fusing the elements.

“Because I am going to become a new mom, I know there is a lot of mundane stuff,” Glenn said. “So I was interested in this thesis to make everything in daily life more magical or surprising.”

Glenn hopes her production will appeal to a wide range of audience members — something her “everyday” theme will likely achieve.

“It makes my everyday life look artistic and my artistic life look more like everyday,” she said.

The dancers in “Second Chances” are what she calls “very intelligent movers.” She couldn’t have made the piece without the particular group selected because of their chemistry and work ethic, she said. (She also, naturally, credits alphabet blocks, buckets, umbrellas, eggs, and grass as important players in her piece.)

Props are essential in Vigmostad’s piece, too.

She arranges her stage like a living room, with a recliner and rug, mirroring the atmosphere in which an interview between Vigmostad and her grandmother took place.

Wanting to focus on ancestry as inspiration for her thesis, the graduate student took a trip to visit her grandmother and learn more about her family history. This seemingly ordinary trip was a new experience for her.

Her grandmother was always part of her life, but on this trip, the two learned to appreciate each other more through the stories they exchanged.

“This trip transformed our relationship,” Vigmostad said.

The ideas of cultural values and identity being passed from one generation to another are shown in an abstract narrative style in “Present Reminiscence.”

Audio and video of Vigmostad’s grandmother telling stories to her granddaughter serve as the backdrop to the movement of the cast.

The dancers capture the idea of passing traditions from generations through partnering and repetition of choreography. Interaction portrays the relationship of family.

Despite all the work the students have already done, defending a thesis means pressure for those working on getting their M.F.A.s in choreography or performance, but Vigmostad said the process felt familiar. Glenn said she went into it thinking she had to make it fun.

“There has always been pressure,” Vigmostad said. “But there has always been a faith in us in the program, so we just do it.”


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