Review of Fall Dance Concert
Directed by Christine Cali
Sonoma State University Department of Theatre Arts & Dance
Evert. B Person Theatre

RUN: November 3-6, 2016
RATING: 4 of 5 stars

November 6, 2016

The Sonoma State University Fall Dance Concert is a celebration of student work; supervised by faculty, they choreograph, design, and manage pieces in the short space of two months, with only eight rehearsals per choreographer. Due to the outpouring of interest this autumn, it has been split into two separate productions: Heart and Soul—the latter of which I attended. Soul is an intimate evening of emotionally charged pieces ranging from crushing sorrow to playful romps in a tightly paced hour of riveting dance.

Photo by David Papas

Photo by David Papas

Solo Dolo
5 of 5 stars
Choreography: Kyle Her
Music: Anvil by Lorn

A lone couch becomes the focal point of this stunning solo that slowly builds from stark loneliness to anxiety, anger, and letting go, sinking back into stillness. Kyle Her’s mesmerizing athletic performance is constantly fluid—extensions reach into the air, arms long and graceful, elbows jut out first with the body following. Mark Wilson’s low lighting sets a somber, rhythmic tone, moving with the dancer in a tangent symphony.

Photo by David Papas

Photo by David Papas

Tension
4 of 5 stars
Choreography: Bella Wenneberg
Music: “Magnets” by Disclosure, “Do I Wanna Know” by Arctic Monkeys

Western themed white corsets, shirts, and braids give the impression of a conventional piece, but Tension swiftly breaks that illusion and becomes a creative set of three vignettes. Groups stalk in emotionless symmetry across the stage, linked or isolated, crossing in straight lines, breaking formation to push, lift, or manipulate each other, constantly connected. They disperse in favor of a mirrored pas de deux of unique relationships, ending with the powerful depiction of a single dancer struggling with a rope to the sound of her heartbeat, fighting to move forward against all odds, and breaking free for a captivating final moment—her fist clenching and relaxing to the beating sound, ending in darkness.

Photo by David Papas

Photo by David Papas

Contingency
4 of 5 stars
Choreography: Anjelica Martinez in collaboration with the dancers
Music: “Atomos X” by A Winged Victory for the Sullen

Weaving Classical and modern sensibilities, this trio seeks for purpose, tentatively searching themselves, languidly stretching in long expansive shapes. Babbling voices drive them into communal purpose, coming together to discover meaning. It is a fascinating dance, although the performers could be lighter on their feet—the heavy footsteps took away from an otherwise contemplative piece.

No One Left Behind
3 of 5 stars
Choreography: Christina Campos in collaboration with the dancers
Music: “Brotsjór” by Ólafur Arnaldas

Earth smeared dancers crowd the stage, shifting between pleasing tableaux. Dynamic lighting by Jessica Amen projects shadows and flashes of lightning, while heart-racing music charges through the auditorium. It has the elements of success, but it is trying too hard without a unifying look to the movement or clear thesis of what is being portrayed, leaving a muddy, detached impression.

Surrounded
4 of 5 stars
Choreography: Caitlin Colangelo
Music: “Losing the Light” by Explosions in the Sky

This quiet piece is deeply vulnerable; dancers silently shiver, subtly shifting and cocooning beneath the stress of life. Shoulders initiate movement, simulating distress by curving up and inward. Dancers slowly balance and meditate, comforting each other or giving in to sorrow. Silent dark shadows envelop the stage, and this brief window illuminates the importance of supporting each other through difficult times.

The Space Between
5 of 5 stars
Choreography: Bria Gabor in collaboration with the dancers
Music: “Untitled” spoken word by Jasmine Williams and “Midnight” by Coldplay

Literature and dance mingle in this powerful message of acceptance that our world needs hope to survive. Words spark gentle pantomime journeying from birth through childhood, how we are trained to hate what is different. Music echoes across the end of Bria Gabor’s reading, washing the stage in blue moonlight of Kieran Latham’s lighting design. Tiny threads of blood glow in white and blue across the dancers’ wrists, prompting them into a slow coming together, finding similarities, and accepting who they are, forging the peace we strive for through unforgettable visuals.

Subliminal Taps
3 of 5 stars
Choreography: Carissa Pinnix
Music: “Heart Cry” by Drehz

Continuing the theme of light, this frothy tap piece includes shoes that flash in the dark. It is a joyful, bright frolic that is infused with party energy and fun. The music is unexpected, and I am not sure if it works or not, but the piece was the perfect uplifting note to close the performance.