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Artistically articulate

The USF dance department’s new performance piece Articulations isn’t just another dance recital.

According to Sandra Robinson, the assistant director of the dance program and a choreographer for the show, the audience will be drawn into each performance due to the engaging and impacting stories.

“There is a clear narrative to each of the pieces, and like an action packed movie, (the audience) can sit back and enjoy the show, (but) audiences will find the pieces thought-provoking and in-your-face at the same time,” Robinson said.

Also, the choreographers have found subtle ways to make the show interactive. The stage for this recital extends straight into the audience, bringing the dancers closer to the crowd. The show is divided into four different acts incorporating film or set design. The subjects and styles of music will vary.

USF dance faculty member Lynne Wimmer teamed up with faculty member Paul Reller to create The House on J Street. For this mini–musical, Reller composed original songs with lyrics that have a pop/contemporary feel.

Reller also acts, dances, and sings in the piece, along with professional dancer Christine Lockheart. The most interesting thing about Wimmer’s offering to Articulations is the use of video. She filmed Reller and Lockheart performing in a surrealistic Utah desert.

“It’s like two worlds. The video represents Christine’s character’s thoughts, while the dancing represents what actually happens,” Wimmer said.

The second piece, choreographed by John Park is called Rags. It is based on the music of jazz vocalist Oscar Brown Jr. After hearing Brown’s album Then and Now, Park was inspired to create the show. The lyrics of the music dictate the subject of the dance clearly. Rags deals with the passage of time, and all that it entails (including coming-of-age and loss of innocence).

Most of the dancers performing in Rags are USF students, but Park also enlisted outside help.

Dancer Eric Stillings, a friend of Park’s, danced until he was injured in an auto accident and this is his first return to the stage.

Elisions, will showcase Darla Stanley, a renowned choreographer and dancer from Philadelphia.

In Walls of the Heart Robinson created a work based upon a church that is destroyed and then rebuilt. While she says the church set might lead people to think the piece is religious, her ultimate goal is for people to think of it as a spiritual statement about how devastation can draw people together and they can become even stronger as a result.

“Each choreographer’s offering to Articulations is poignant and rich in content,” Robinson said.

“The choreographers have truly gone all out to utilize sets, music, video, and the stage in new ways to make an exciting show,” Wimmer said.

For those who are curious about what the USF dance department produces, this promises to be an entertaining opportunity to find out.

Articulations is performed Oct. 30 – 31 and Nov 6 – 8 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 2 at 3 p.m. in Theater II. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for the general public.