Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Dance Concert to feature student and visiting artist choreography

The beauty of sign language will find a place on the stage this week during Randolph College’s annual Spring Dance Concert.

Kathryn Old ’13 choreographed “Natural Communication” with movements inspired by American Sign Language, which she began learning when she babysat a deaf child for a family she knows.  “I wanted to show the importance of dance as expression and also the beauty of being hearing impaired and using sign language,” said Old.

Photo by Andrew Wilds
This is one of several dance pieces that students will showcase in the concert at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Students have been choreographing their own dances and mastering the work of visiting dance artists for more than a year in preparation for this concert.

Old is also quite excited to be performing in a piece by Takehiro “Take” Ueyama, the director of Take Dance in New York City who has been a visiting artist at Randolph for several years. The dance is Japanese inspired and technically quite difficult. “Take’s choreography is beautiful because it looks so effortless, but they are extremely challenging to dance,” Old said.

Working with the visiting artists such as Take is a very special component of the Randolph College dance program. It allows students exposure to dancers and choreographers who are currently working in the dance industry. Not only are they able to build close relationships with the visiting artists, but it is also a gateway to opportunities with other dance companies.

Martin Wiley will perform a solo dance choreographed by Kile
Hotchkiss in the Spring Dance Concert. Photo by Andrew Wilds.
Another senior choreographer highlighted in this dance concert is Martin Wiley ’13. Wiley has choreographed and casted a dance inspired by the elements earth, wind, fire, and water. “I enjoy choreography. The idea that I could create something and it would be appreciated was really fascinating to me,” said Wiley, “It is one of the things that has inspired me to go deeper in the field of dance.”

In addition to his own choreography, Wiley will perform in five other dances at the concert. Most notable is a solo piece choreographed by Kile Hotchkiss. Representing the struggles that one faces when coming in and out of a relationship, the dance is quite powerful. “It is set to a piano ballad. The music is simple, but it is offset by very dynamic movement,” said Wiley. “I think it will really affect some people in the audience.”

Wiley and Old each bring a different perspective and experience to dance. Wiley did not discover his passion for dance until he was at Randolph, when another student saw him dance at a party and invited him to perform in a piece she was choreographing. Old, however, has danced for most of her life and attended the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Va., for high school, She had a very intensive pre-college career that involved dancing most days from lunchtime until late at night. Coming to Randolph allowed her to continue working hard to develop her talent while giving her a breath of fresh air. “The Dance Program here has felt like family,” she said. “It is very uplifting and encouraging.”

The Spring Dance Concert will start Thursday, April 4th and run through Saturday, April 6th. All performances begin at 8:00pm and are held in Smith Hall Theatre. Admission is $8 for general admission, $4 for students, and free for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.lynchburgtickets.com/springdance.