Dance Lab Report.doc

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John Jenkins

Chelsea Van Thof Music 150 Dance Lab Report The portion of Suzanne Farrell’s ballet that I remember the most was after Intermission. It may have been during “Agon,” but it is also possible that it was in “Part I” (it was at the start of “Agon” that I began to have trouble with identifying the transitions between each piece). This portion of the ballet involved the appearance of only a few male dancers at center stage, in the beginning, but then there was an inflow of younger, female dancers from both sides of the stage. They pranced in, going every which way, always crossing each other at center stage. They performed leaps and swings, raising their legs high into the air, over and under each other, almost touching but never getting quite close enough. Whichever dance it was, I went about watching it the same way that I had been watching the first half of the ballet- trying to find meaning in each dance, a story. What I liked about this piece, however, was that after the first couple minutes, I threw away my notion to understand, and just let myself enjoy the art in front of my eyes. This dance is what made me question what it meant for something to be considered art. Yes, it may enrich our experience to find connections between the representation and ourselves, but sometimes it is enough to just appreciate the beauty in front of you. If this piece reminds me of anything, it is a sodium ion channel letting in thousands of sodium ions during an action potential of a neuron (now you see why I didn’t want to find meaning). It is not what it reminded me of that made this dance special and my positive reaction so strong. What sparked my reaction was the idea of bursting through boundaries, exceeding limits, taking something quiet and turning it upside down. Chelsea Van Thof Music 150 The first thing I noticed were the simple costumes, just simple leotards, as I recall. I had found the costumes used in “Diamonds” to be distracting from the choreography, so I appreciated the humble black leotards used for the outfits in this dance. The element that I think Balanchine was trying to pay the most attention to was space. Each dancer had their own pathway with much range, especially the female dancers. The leg lifts and twirls really took advantage of the various levels of space onstage. With so many dancers, it is hard to remember all of the different uses of shape in the performance, but from what I recall, there wasn’t anything too rigid, although there were very structured leg lifts (as to not hit the girl next to you!). It would make sense for the fast movement of the dancers to be facilitated by loose structure. The other portion of the dance that elicited a positive response from me was “
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