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A Review Of The Masters And Visionaries Dance Performance

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For this focus question, I viewed the Masters and Visionaries performance on December 8 at 2:30 P.M., which was held at the Ball State University Theatre. The artistic direction by Auda Sokol, associate artistic direction by Christie Zimmerman, Choreography by Marius Petipa (restaged by Lisa Carter), Martha Graham (restaged by Sandra Kaufmann), Sidra Bell, and Jamy meek. There was an amazing list of performers who performed remarkably, to shorten this response I will only list a few. Some of the various performers are as listed: Alexa Abbott, Stephanie Bell, and Emily Coy (all three dances in Works Within Dreams), Emily Busha, Lilian Meyers, and Josh Brinkman (Performed in Le Corsaire), Melanie Schreiber, Mickie Marie, and Elizza Frye (Performed in Steps in the street), Cassidy Crull, Lilly Deeg, and Greta Linder (Performed in No-Ya). To summarize briefly about my experience at the master and Visionary’s performance from an audience perspective, upon arrival it was extremely stunning the lighting was beautiful, the Customs were beautiful, the dancer’s makeup and facial expressions were astonishing and conveyed a story.

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Each dance told its own story and had its own style and structure. One performance that stuck out to me the most was the performance piece that is choreographed by Martha Graham titled Steps in the Street. The reason this performance stands out to me the most is because of the color of the costumes which were black, the makeup, the facial expressions, and the way the dancers moved in space with time and energy. a costume may be designed to expose or enhance the lines formed by the dancer’s body, or to express the choreographer’s artistic vision, or to engage the audience, or combinations of these. A costume may portray or relate to some characteristics, mood, or theme of the dance. For this particular performance dancers, wear loose-fitting and dark clothing. To the audience, this color can symbolize the mood of performance and emotion. The dark color clothing to the audience can symbolize power, fear, mystery, strength, authority, elegance, formality, death, evil, and aggression, authority, rebellion, and sophistication. Makeup was plain and facial expression was dreadful. I will continue to discuss Steps in the Street later in my discussion.

Dance Analysis

There are four dance pieces that are included in Master’s and Visionaries in which I mentioned above, the dance pieces included are as listed: Martha Graham Steps in the Street, Marius Petipa Le Corsaire, Sidra Bell Work Within Dreams, and Jamy Meek No-Ya. Of these four pieces, I will only discuss my 2-favorite performance in order to minimize and meet the outlined requirement efficiently. I will first discuss the first piece that was performed and how it relates to the elements BASTE and ORDER. Marius Petipa was born in France but became the pre-eminent choreographer in imperial Russia during the 19th century. The performance piece Le Corsaire is a piece describing a pirate ship, manned by Conrad, his slave, and his friend Birbanto sails toward Turkey. During the viewing when thinking of the BASTE elements the bodies of the dancers conveyed a lot of lower and higher extremity movements. Body shaped varied from symmetrical to rounded and twisted. As for facial expression, the dancers expressed a lot of happy emotions, for example, smiles. In regard to the dancer’s actions, they performed in an open format. There was a variety of gliding and sauté.

The dancers gradually shift from movement in place to traveling in space, traveling was sometimes angular and straight. The dancers performed slow speed but towards the ending of the performance, it began to gradually incline in time. Dancers were full of life and great energy. Attacks were smooth and there was loose tension. The force varied from gentle to full force. The dancers flowed freely and sometimes were controlled. Some observations I made was there were dramatic costumes, they were dramatic but very beautiful. They use blue coloring for the customs to convey a message of emotion that symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven. The lighting was of amazing quality, beautiful makeup, and great facial expressions. To reflect on the performance, I believe the dancers were conveying a positive message just based on their movements, facial expressions, makeup and color of clothing. Before looking up the meaning of the dance as an audience viewing the dance, I inferred the dance symbolized some sort of hope and happiness. To further discuss the performance, the piece consisted of three different ballet segments and each consisted of different movements and differed in the way the dancers moved in unison. To evaluate the dance, I believe this dance was performed with distinction and was absolutely stunning. If I had the choice to view the performance again, I would definitely pay to attend. I don’t believe this piece of work needs revision; I think everything was executed amazingly.

I will now discuss the next performance Steps in the Streets briefly. Martha Graham is recognized as a primal artistic force of the 20th century. She created 181 ballets and her innovative physical vocabulary has irrevocably influenced dance worldwide. The dance describes homelessness and exile. the dance is a portrait of the human condition born out of the Great Depression and of Graham’s response to the Spanish Civil War. It references the plight of individuals suffering through hunger and poverty. While viewing this performance it caught my interest because of its odd but creative presentation. During my viewing the dancers begun to move their bodies begun to move in unison in a symmetrical shape. Dancers also rounded themselves toward the end of the performance, I think one thing that was important is that they conveyed a variety of shapes with their bodies. Something that I found interesting was that the performers used the hands to illustrate chains on hand. This symbolized that the dancers were acting as prisoners. The dancers began to perform actions that included: Shuffling, sliding, gliding bending, stretching, etc. Dancers traveled in space, they scattered and sometimes walked in unified parallel lines. There was group proximity to objects.

The time displayed in this performance was slow and uneven. There was some movement in unison but sometimes there was running of dancers before and after one another. The energy of this piece was sharp and sudden. There was a strong force implemented and the flow was mostly free but sometimes controlled. I observed some of the most interesting movements during this viewing. Instead of dancing for just entertainment this piece presents dance for meaning. During the viewing, I observed kicking and dancers’ hands placed as if they were chained. There were anger and force presented in the dancers’ movements and facial expressions. From an audience perspective if you were to view this performance you would infer the work symbolized hopelessness and rage. To reflect on this piece the color of custom choice was black which symbolizes power, fear, mystery, strength, authority, elegance, formality, death, evil, and aggression, authority, rebellion, and sophistication. Makeup was plain and expressions were again dreadful. As an audience before even looking up the purpose of the dance, you can already perceive that dance is sad and tells a story about slavery (not physical slavery, but mental slavery). In an evaluation of the dance, the dance was truly amazing in the message it conveyed, and it also is historically meaningful. I don’t believe this piece of work needs any revision because it displayed its message clearly by presenting the kinds of movements, gestures, facial expressions, makeup, and dark clothing.

Performance Take-aways

While viewing the performance my perspective for viewing dance has shifted in a small percentage. I agree it shifted in a small percent because of the fact that after learning different things in this course, the course has told me a new perspective in the way I view dance. With this experience, I was able to put the knowledge to work. This presented me with an opportunity to be a part of the audience and analyzing dance in a way I’ve never done before. As an audience member, I was able to view these dances and give them meaning. Viewing things live is better than watching a video of dance because you’re there with the performers. This gives you a better chance to interpret the dance and feel and see the dancer’s emotion. You can see how the dancers implement dancers more clearly and can understand why dancers are executing certain forms and styles. Majority of the things I listed you can’t get the same quality or experience viewing dance through media. You can receive that actual audience experience as compared to viewing dance at home on a television screen. I can now go view performances and participate as an active audience and thoroughly discuss the performer’s dancing process and its meaning with-out being clueless.

10 Jun 2021

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