Student leadership and involvement present in the 2016 Fall Dance Concert is impressive. Tonight and on Saturday, eight out of eleven pieces that will be performed were choreographed by the students. Furthermore, many pieces featured first years who showcased their skills and expressiveness.
Alex Dagher, a dance major who is graduating in the spring of this year, choreographed three differing pieces. Her first piece and the first of the show titled “Release” featuring Olympia Lehota ’20 on the 11th and Rachel Rogers ’18 on the 12th. Both performers moved on the lyra calmly and seamlessly, expressing a sense of letting go when finally releasing the hoop.
Dagher’s second piece featured two first years—Taylor Jefferson ’19 and Taylor Watson ’20. It is called “Sibling Rivalry”, a playful piece that twirls, sashays, and lifts through the ups and down of sisterhood. Dagher’s final piece, “Thread” was a formidable solo that testifies to her studies here. She moves like a fearsome figure with hands reaching and stopping something, body darting to the ground, and eyes staring intensely out into space.
Katrina Buniak is another senior dance major. She choreographed “Always There”—a well performed piece that featured dance minor and BFA candidate Vanessa Finnegan ’17. Finnegan watched with curiosity as these figures of her mind sway near and shadow her character.
Buniak dances solo in her second piece called “Loss of Endearment”—this impressively performed piece combines strength, skill, and intense emotion as she darts with her hands with her body low to the floor. She seamlessly yet pointedly incorporates the lyra while maintaining her expression of sadness and loss. Buniak commented that through this dance she wants to convey her strength, ability, and the ways she has grown through her four years here at Sweet Briar. She succeeds.
In addition, several other seniors contributed their artistic talents to their dance concert as well. In “Unrest, Unrise” Vanessa Finnegan—choreographer and dancer—delighted the audience with her enjoyable vision of her seamless ebb and flow of jolts and smooth steps. A more pop rendition of “Puttin On The Ritz” by Pomplamoose featured Ruth Packard ’17 as “The Necromancer.” While Ruth struts around bedecked in a sequined tuxedo jacket and a top hat she controls zombies in white dresses who move in sync as she puppeteers and leads them. In “Anima Torturata” Rachel Roger’s ’18 dance major and BFA candidate, catches the audience’s’ attention with her controlled writhing and shaking. She emoted beautifully pain and confusion with her facial expressions and body as she used different levels of the space.
Dance instructor Ella Magruder, Sweet Briar Class of ‘75, choreographed “On the color of light” which featured Sweet Briar’s assistant professor of music Joshua Harris’ original music composition “Aubabe.” In her piece, the performers swayed like underwater plants and blended and contrasted each other like light refracting through glass. The movements coupled with the haunting piano music made this piece exquisite. Like glasswork.
Head of the Dance department, Mark Magruder’s piece, “Quixote Blues” he melancholily plays the guitar before joining with Katrina Buniak’s spritely character. Their pas de deux contains a playful manner, light steps, the lyra, and seemingly effortless lifts. In contrast, Magruder’s second piece titled “The Edge” Velocity Haigh ’18 becomes an angry character as she interacts with camouflaged creatures. They act as one mass and then as many small groups running, jumping, and twirling in perfect unison or creating interesting sculptures with one another as they try at first to escape and then defeat Haigh’s character.
Come join our community November 11th and 12th at 7:30 PM in the Murchison Lane Auditorium in Babcock. The skill and variety produced by Sweet Briar students is impressive. The concert will be a feast for your senses, and also a thrill and delight to your heart.
By Mary Grace Williams ’20