Nine dancers started their rehearsal last Saturday sweaty and flushed from a lighting cue-to-cue. Their choreographer, Cara Moriwaki ’14, got right down to business reviewing the movement for the almost six-minute piece. Entitled “Transitions,” the dance is based off of experiences with homesickness and making connections in a new place.
The dancers will perform “Transitions” this weekend, at 7:00 p.m. on April 25 and 27, and at 2:00 p.m. on April 27, in the annual Macalester College Spring Dance Concert. The concert will feature work from Cassidy Foust ’14, Jon Dahl ’14, Emily Diener ’15, Melanie Kern ’14, Katherine Rank ’15, Catriona Leckie ’17, and Daniel Voss ’14.
After the dancers brushed up on the movement, Moriwaki brought them into a circle on the floor to talk about an oft-neglected aspect of many dance pieces: the emotions.
“Does it look like it tells the story that you want it to?” asked a reflective Lydia Craig ’16. Craig has trained almost exclusively in ballet for much of her life, like many of her fellow dancers in Moriwaki’s piece. These dancers also share a primarily choreography-based movement background, and for them, Moriwaki’s piece is a refreshing return to what they know best in the midst of a dance department that emphasizes more experimental, improvisation-based movement.
“I knew I would have to work fast,” explained Moriwaki, so she approached the piece with her music and idea set. She asked her dancers what they could and couldn’t do and created movement—in some cases, pushing them to do certain moves that they didn’t feel comfortable doing. “If I thought it would make them improve, I made them do it,” Moriwaki said. Some of Moriwaki’s movement deviated from the classical backgrounds of many of the dancers: “I made them break a few rules that they were used to,” she added with a smile.
This being said, Moriwaki gladly took suggestions from her dancers, in some cases allowing them moments to choreograph for themselves. “When you’re dancing with a new choreographer, they don’t know what works with your body,” said dancer Teagan Coleman ’17. “It’s so valuable to be able to communicate.”
Coleman was excited by the technical aspects of the piece. “I saw it as a chance to improve in that way, as a challenge to work towards,” she explained. As an underclassmen, like the rest of the dancers of the piece (excluding Moriwaki), she had also had “pretty fresh experiences with homesickness.”
“I think it’s something a lot of people can relate to, but we don’t talk about it a lot,” Craig commented. Moriwaki remarked that it appeared that many of the older dancers were drawn to other pieces. Several of the younger dancers had marked Moriwaki’s as a preference during the audition process, as choreographers decided who would dance for whom.
One of those dancers was Erica Ditmore ’17, who spoke about her favorite moments in the piece. “I like the part where we finally connect, because I think it transfers into real life,” she explained. “I feel like the dance community here is kinda spread out; there are a lot of satellites, but there’s a community here.”
Audience members should look forward to authentic connection, and utterly original new movement, in the concert this weekend. Dance pieces will range from the technically challenging, traditionally choreographed “Transitions” to more experimental pieces.
Tickets are $7.00 general admission, $2.00 for student reservations, $5.00 for seniors (62+), free student rush available, free for ACTC faculty & staff.