Spring dance concert to wow, stun Macalester audience

By Tatiana Craine

Spring is in the air. Squirrels are leaping across campus, birds are soaring above Old Main and students are gearing up for Macalester’s annual Spring Dance Concert. This year, the Spring Dance Concert is called “Sweet Moves in Leotards,” and student choreographer Laura Hittle has “a few pieces that took a very bright or neon path, at least in costume.” The show is student organized, choreographed and managed while Macalester’s Dance Department sponsors the production.

“Sweet Moves in Leotards” has been in the making for months. Choreographers began planning their dances before the end of fall semester, meeting with each other and developing a program for spring. At the beginning of the semester, the student choreographers met again and held auditions for the dancers. Rehearsals have been taking place since casting for each of the pieces. The culmination of all the hard work that has gone into this production will be when the show premieres this weekend. This spring’s senior choreographers are Allison Berman, Emily Gastineau, Annie Henly, Amy Hill and Laura Hittle.

Hittle talked about the theme of this semester’s show, saying, “We have a couple of dances that are exploring bodies: where we draw the lines between one body and another, how we feel about our own bodies.”

This year, the Spring Dance Concert features many different styles of dance including hip-hop, Irish dancing, modern dance and tango. “[The show has] a really big mix,” Hittle said.

One of the dances generating a lot of buzz has been the show’s butoh-styled dance. Butoh is an abstract form of movement and dance involving white body-makeup and very deliberate and drawn-out body movements. The butoh dance performed in “Sweet Moves in Leotards” is set against a black backdrop with minimal lighting and a very slow soundtrack. Three dancers don only ivory skirts and white body-makeup as they execute extreme control over their movements throughout the piece.

The show opens with a half dozen dancers sitting on the stage, miming along while “It’s a Hard Knock Life” plays in the background. After an innocent interlude, the piece suddenly turns into a high-energy hip-hop fusion with a puppet master and tight choreography throughout. The next piece in the show stands in stark contrast to the first, relying only on carefully timed breathing and coughing as a soundtrack while four dancers’ bodies jerk artfully around the stage. “Sweet Moves in Leotards” boasts a wide range of dance styles sure to please the Macalester audience.

“Sweet Moves in Leotards” premieres Friday, April 3 at 7:30 PM on the main stage in the Janet Wallace Theater and Dance Building. The show also runs Saturday, April 4 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, April 5 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $2 in advance, but student rush tickets are available for free just before show time.