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‘LOOP TRACK’ takes the stage

The Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance presents their annual Fall Dance Concert on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. This year’s show, “LOOP TRACK,” is a collection of five student choreographers’ original work, developed with supervising assistant professor of dance Laurel Jenkins. The evening will also include the Newcomers’ Piece, open to students who have not previously participated in a Dance Program performance.
Anchored in approaches such as touch, different modes of dialogue, Greek mythology, improvisation and scientific experimentation, student choreographers throw their bodies into a sea of inquiries onstage. What happens if we throw stage lights on the scientific method? Can we work out issues of trust and communication without talking? How do we find our way back to community in the dead of night? Through questions such as these, the evening travels through themes of empathy, loneliness, home, trust, communication and embodiment.
This Is Your Rest
Tess Weitzner ’18.5 and her accompanying dancers Nick Brooke ’21.5, Madeline Elkes ’22, Esme Fahnestock ’21, and Isabel Scal ’22 put human trust on display. Frequent touch and weight-bearing partnering movements tell little stories about the parts of ourselves that we share with others, intentionally or not. We respond as if the weight of an arm, leg or head is suddenly threefold, fivefold, tenfold what it should be. Our performance is a series of these exaggerated human responses. In these tableaus, we ask: How do we bear the weight of dependency, exchange the weight of support and give the weight of trust? Original music by Ben Belinski ’18.5.
Big Big Whirl
Ami Furgang ’20, a film major with an appetite for live performance, choreographs a warm scene that has no end. Dancers Tenzin Gyalpo ’20, Abbey Knight ’20, Emma Lodge ’19.5, Daza Mendoza ’22, and Ariadne Will ’22 come together for a scene of dreams and memories that are rooted in dizziness and pedestrian movement. Theatrical elements and constant transitions project a portrait of perpetual solitude before a surrender to slumber.
Dialed
Annie Aguilar ’19 and dancers Masha Makutonina ’21, Bobbi Finkelstein ’21.5, and Kate Talano ’21.5 tackle the embodiment of the dis-embodied style of communication that seems to govern our daily lives in a media-driven society. Inspiration is drawn from the following questions: In what ways, how much, and with whom are we communicating? What are the effects of this type of communication on our micro and macro interactions in the world? The partnering work in this piece is simultaneously divisive and unifying. The dancers’ hands, eyes and ears drive their movement as they tune in to and out from one another.
Speculation
Maggie Phillips, a senior dance and chemistry double major, creates at the intersection of art and science. Constructed through the framework of the scientific method, “Speculation” is a piece where process meets creativity, performance meets experimentation and dancer meets audience. This piece is performed by science majors Chloe Zinn ’22, Remi Welbel ’22, Seiha San ’22 and Yasmine Signey ’22. These dancers act as both the scientists and the subjects of this experiment.
Alone abides in the house of heaven
Emma Knoke ’21.5, Claire Moy ’22, Haegan O’Rourke ’22 and Sonomi Tsurata ’20 join Caleb Green ’18.5 in writing a love letter to the supporter role. Using Hestia, the goddess of the hearth from Greek mythology as a grounding figure, they explore what defines the role of the supporter. Where is there anger? Joy? Compromise? Loneliness? Peace? In seeing, empathizing and embodying, they attend to the parts of the hearth, heart and home that are not normally seen.
Insecurity Zoo
This year’s Newcomers’ Piece is choreographed by the Dance Company of Middlebury (directed this year by Lida Winfield). The piece explores moving into and through fear, the vulnerability of publicly declaring insecurities, and the support and community generated through (literally) moving through insecurity. This large-scale collaboration between the 12 students in DCM and seven dancers new to the Middlebury stage experiments with the choreographic process as well as content. The dancers met with a different group of students from DCM every four rehearsals, allowing the creative vision to be shared and altered as the piece developed. Rather than dancing like no one is watching, this piece asks what happens when we dance like everybody is watching. Performed by Juliette Emma Briey (exchange), Alexis Clay ’21, Kenny Dunne ’20, Grace Levin ’18.5, Zoe Lynds ’21, Maia June Sauer ’22 and Olivia Monet Weisel ’22.
The Dance Program’s annual Fall Dance Concert will take place on Friday, Nov. 30,  and Saturday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m., in the Dance Theatre of the Mahaney Center for the Arts in Middlebury. Tickets are $15 for the general public; $12 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti and other ID card holders; $8 for youth 18 and under; and $6 for Middlebury College students. To order, call 802-443-MIDD (6433) or visit go.middlebury.edu/arts.

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