The CoLab Fall Showcase was an excellent representation of very contemporary dance and arts on campus with plenty of variety and eccentricity. Props ranged from a shark costume to a piano, to a handful of garbage bags thrown onstage. One thing that was particularly striking about this gamut of peculiarity was that nothing in the show seemed without intention.
In the very first piece, choreographed by Debbie Mausner and performed by Leah Samuels, the sound effects were entirely created by the movements and breaths of the dancer. This meant that any stillness was accompanied by silence, and the effect of that pause was significant. The piece was titled “this dance is for you” and seemed to depict a typical college student’s life through various poses and expressions that immediately brought daily routines we’ve all experienced to mind.
The second piece adjusted that theme by having intermittent periods of music or reading a story. Dancers Colette Kelly, Falls Kennedy, Nadia Khayrallah, and Cauveri Suresh were telling the story of a shadow bunny, and used specific placements, hand motions, and interactions to bring the story to life. Choreographed by EB Dresser-Kluchman, to me the piece was a series of possible variations on the story’s theme.
By the third piece, CoLab’s promise of use of other arts was realized with the use of a Video Abstraction Tool that used a series of pictures to show completed sequences of movement. Choreographers and dancers Sadi Mosko and Carolyn Silverman used beautiful extensions and effortless partnering to complete and expand upon the movements on screen, all to a low, abstract soundtrack.
The show was artfully put together, as the next piece was a solo by Chava Lansky that used an old pop song “Be My Baby”. The sudden addition of such a loud song was jarring, and the dance was a fun and lively modern interpretation of the song.
The next piece made abundant use of the lighting possibilities onstage, made more shocking by the white full-body leotards each of the four dancers was wearing. Yadira Capaz choreographed a very collaborative piece with Shane Colombo, Edmund Qiu, and Ally Sterling, which seemed to mimic the beat and soundscape they had chosen. Like the other pieces, they had several long pauses, often in impressive inversions or group movements which added to the collective feel of the dance.
Next, the collaboration was further explored in an improv piece with two dancers, Nadia Khayrallah and Lizzie Benzik, who used 4 sequential movements to simulate oxygen binding in blood. A “shark” was on stage to moderate the timing, but what really drew the audience’s attention was the coordination of the lifts and balances in the partner-work between the dancers.
This was followed by a duet of a different nature, where Vikas Arun tapped along to a live piano performance of Michael Edmonsen. This was one of my favorite dances, as the sounds really melded, with the tap acting sometimes as a backing beat, and other times as syncopated interpretation of the piano runs.
Finally, Rochelle Wilbun choreographed a piece for Cauveri Suresh which, to me, expressed all of our idiosyncrasies when home alone. Suresh started by making clothes out of trash bags and sharing thoughts she had had as a child, then went through several getting-ready-to-go-out songs before putting on clothes and lipstick and continuing her dance. This piece was hilarious, as the parody of our lives when no one is watching was fully fleshed-out.
Overall it was more than worth the time to see all the work put in to create this thoughtfully put-together show! You should definitely head out to catch the second and last show, it is free! Tickets to tonight’s show can be found here.