This weekend, the MaMa Project, a satellite project of Orchesis, presented a dance show centered around ghosts and disconnection from community.

The MaMa Project 2023, a satellite project of Orchesis, presented the production “Ghost Town” this weekend: a dance show centered around themes of disconnection from reality and community, and suffering as portrayed by ghosts. The MaMa Project allows chosen choreographers to create their own smaller, more intimate projects, encouraging collaboration. This production was directed by Maya Puri, a senior in SEAS who has been part of Orchesis her entire college career.

As articulated in the program, “This project explores the ever-growing sense of disconnection and lack of community we feel in this age of dissociation. We use ghosts to represent how it feels to navigate relationships, our pasts, and our futures with an underlying sense of detachment from reality. It also demonstrates how genuine human connection can make reality bearable, and how it takes work to feel tethered to the earth in this day and age. We cannot pretend to feel numb if we are suffering, so I hope this show reminds you to seek connectedness to others and yourself.” The themes of this project have become increasingly relevant in the modern age, and the love and tenderness in the production are as inspiring as it aspires to be. The dancers seem in tune with the ghosts, music, and each other. From ghost dancers in sheets and hats to a cheery performance of “Ghost Town” by Don Cherry and Ray Conniff that interacted with the audience, the dancers also found ways to take on these difficult themes in entertaining, lighthearted ways. The program also included Emily Dickinson’s “This is My Letter To The World“, which helped set the tone of the show.

Using songs such as “Wasteland, Baby!” by Hozier, “Which Witch” by Florence and the Machine, and “Last Words of a Shooting Star” by Mitski, the MaMa Project did a wonderful job of using color-changing lights, ghost sheets, and graceful, thought-provoking dance to portray the themes that were stated in the program as well as enrapture the audience. You can check out the full soundtrack here.

The performance titled “Undead” which used the song “Presumably Dead Arm” by Sidney Gish” featured Annika Voorheis (’24), Kelly Peterson (’23), Maya Puri (’23), Molly Leahy (’24), Pimprenelle Beheagle, and Abby Mankin. In the beginning of the song, two lovers walk together through a graveyard until one of the presumably dead bodies reaches their arm up and they are lifted up by one of the lovers as the other runs away. Then, the presumably dead crowd joins together and begins to dance. They display a lot of tenderness and love for one another. In the end, the runaway lover comes back and grabs their significant other’s hand as the dead bodies lay back on the ground. Another interesting piece was the solo by Katie Sponenbergn called “Bogey” to the tune of “Ghost Town” by Don Cherry and Ray Conniff, featuring a top hat and giving off old musical city vibes. It was incredibly entertaining to watch and the silly interactions with the audience were well-received.

Cast via Bwog Staff