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M.F.A. dance students perform thesis

BY JENNIFER HOCH | APRIL 17, 2014 5:00 AM

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By using the art of the human body, University of Iowa dance students will tell complex stories in this year's Wild Ones, an M.F.A. thesis concert in North Hall's Space/Place.

The concert will open at 8 p.m. today and continue through Saturday. Tickets are free for UI students with valid IDs, $6 for seniors and youth, and $12 for the general public.

Dance Department head and Associate Professor George De La Pena said graduate students Marie Brown, Jingqiu Guan, Marie Spaabaek Mortensen, and Dana Powers-Klooster have been challenged by choice of choreographers and specific needs of the dances from a performing perspective. During the last few days before the show, he said, performers will be live-streaming their rehearsals to the guest choreographers in order to get final notes and feedback. In addition, he said, coordination with the lighting designer, costumes, and sound will be completed.

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"Wild Ones includes four distinct performing styles [in six different works]; variety is the theme of the evening," De La Pena said. "The dancers are all excellent and intelligent performers, and we are proud to have had them with us as exemplars in our program."

Associate Professor Charlotte Adams has restaged the piece "The Pathology of Love" working with dancers Brown and Dakota Gonzalez. Adams said the piece contains physically challenging partner work and emphasized the intimacy between the dancers.

"It's about how you give and take away, how you touch, and how you allow yourself to be manipulated by someone else," Brown said. "There are physical properties of partnering that tell the story between the two dancers and have a broader meaning for relationships in life."

The UI graduate student said that the work, while physically demanding, is a piece of fluid movement that highlights the human experience. Brown said the piece looks as if the dancers are having a conversation nonverbally through their movements and that the performance aspect is a way for her to share a portion of herself with the audience.

"Working with [Adams] and [Gonzalez] has been the most gratifying part of this process; their energy, support, laughter, and engagement in each rehearsal has been amazing," Brown said. "I am always inspired by people that are genuinely passionate about what they do, and [Adams] and [Gonzalez] are two very passionate people."

Featured soloist Guan will perform in three pieces in the concert, including the ensemble piece "The Inscrutable Adventures of Miss Understanding," choreographed by Jennifer Kayle. Guan said the piece is an exploration of the quest for identity and encounters of cultural misunderstanding through her travel experience. She said that as a whole, the performance is diverse, athletic, thoughtful, political, and well-crafted.

"It is important to live in the moment fully and not to be end-gaining," Guan said. "In terms of mentally preparing for the performance, I try to really trust myself and what I have already built for the pieces I will perform."


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