Dance faculty and graduates 'take chances'


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Faculty/Graduate Dance — Rebekha Chappell, "No Where to Go"

Rebekha Chappell, a master of fine arts student in the University of Iowa dance department, talks about her solo piece "No Where to Go." Chappell choreographed the piece for this years Department of Dance Faculty/Graduate concert. The concert will take place Feb. 12 at 8:00 pm in the Space Place Theater.


Faculty/Graduate Dance — Charlotte Adams, "Dysphonia"

Charlotte Adams, associate professor of dance at the University of Iowa, talks about “Dysphonia,” a piece she collaborated on for the Department of Dance Faculty/Graduate Dance concert. Ultimately, Adams said, the piece became about artificial intelligence and the dangers it could pose to society. The Department of Dance Faculty/Graduate concert will take place Feb. 12 at 8:00 pm in the Space Place Theater.

A dancer moves to the music of a violin player and saxophonist. Their gloved hands moves through the air, simultaneously providing data for a computer program called HIDI, which uses them to create a unique, spontaneous composition.

University of Iowa Associate Professor of Dance Charlotte Adams is responsible for choreographing the performance “Dysphonia.” The piece is meant to investigate artificial intelligence and how it could affect human behavior, she said.

“I think we take a lot more chances in this concert than others,” Adams said.

“Dysphonia” is one of the eight dance pieces to be performed at the UI Faculty and Graduate Concert, opening at 8 p.m. on Thursday. Dance graduate student Jason Palamara, a founder of the UI Laptop Orchestra, composed the music, plays the violin, and is responsible for HIDI.

Adams said the combination of input from the graduate student and creative risk-taking sets these performances apart from other Dance Department productions. Many graduate students are professionals returning to school, and they have a wide range of experience.

“Graduate students bring a lot of new and exciting ideas,” she said.

Each piece is choreographed by either a faculty member or graduate student.

“Hiding in Plain Sight,” a piece by Visiting Assistant Professor Kristin Marrs and Ellie Goudie-Averill is a collaboration that Marrs believes is enjoyable. Marrs, who has never collaborated on a performance, said the pair would play off each other’s movements to create the dance.

It is set to a composition by graduate student Paul Duffy, incorporating marimba and upright bass. Marrs said the movements in “Hiding in Plain Sight” are meant to mimic “what it would be like to be a spy in your hometown.”

Graduate student Chris Yon’s “Flashback” is a series of duets with longtime accompanist Taryn Griggs. Griggs and Yon have danced together for 13 years before Yon took a break from dancing. 

The piece is a montage of routines Griggs performed with five partners during the time Yon was absent from the stage.

“It’s very inorganic … [we do] natural things but a little fast and jittery,” he said.

Rebekah Chappell, the graduate student responsible for choreographing “Nowhere to Go,” said she is honored and excited to share her work with the audience.

“It is a personal work, dealing with different physical and emotional states and was a way of processing life,” she said.

Chappell said graduate pieces for the show are adjudicated. Choreographers submit work to a committee, whose members then choose the pieces for the show and determines the order of the program.

Other performers include Tori Lawrence, Paula Lamamié de Clairac, Eloy Barragán, and Nicholas Leichter.

“You want to keep the concert flowing in a wave that makes some kind of artistic sense,” Adams said.

Marrs said she is excited by the lineup of performances, which demonstrates the diversity in the department. The wide-range of media on display, Adams said, from dance-film to live music, is indicative of a willingness to take risks.

“I think this concert really appeals to people that really love new ideas,” she said.

Department of Dance Faculty/Graduate Concert
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
Where: Space/Place Theater, North Hall
Admission: Free for UI students, $6-$12 for non-students

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