Spring dance springs forward

Featuring the diverse talents of USF’s College of Visual and Performing Arts’ staff and students, the performances at Saturday’s annual Spring Dance concert broke stereotypes and pushed limits.

“I am so impressed (by) these dancers – especially the students who have gained so much,” said Sandra Robinson, director and producer of the concert.

Dance students Chase Ajdinovich and Angela Mazziotta collaborated on one of the featured performances. The piece began as a study for their class and evolved into “Terram,” one of six performances included in the concert. Ajdinovich said their dance ignored the stereotypical gender roles normally assigned to co-ed dances. For example, the pair takes turns lifting one another, blending the female’s and male’s roles into one.

“I definitely don’t feel like we are our own sex,” Ajdinovich said. “I feel like we are our own person instead.”

While “Terram” focused on exploring alternative social roles for the dancers, “Blood Matrix” featured a mixed-abilities dance that catered to dancers with physical restrictions. Segways and wheelchairs were incorporated “as an extension of the dancers,” Robinson said.

Merry Lynn Morris, instructor and dance adviser, choreographed and performed in the piece.

Brittany Antle, a senior majoring in dance, was inspired by Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, when she choreographed “Do Us Part.”

Other performances helped to round out the eclectic concert and give the audience an opportunity to experience different styles of dance. The choreographers took inspiration for their pieces from various media, including Mariah Maloney, a visiting professor who based her performance, “One Hundred Years,” on the works of contemporary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. The ruins of Carthage in Tunisia inspired Jeanne Travers, associate professor of theater and dance, to create “Memories of the Stone.”

Although the concert is over, two of the student-produced performances are expected to be part of the American College Dance Festival in Gainesville in March.

The performance runs Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 28-March 1 at 8 p.m., in Theatre II. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $6 for students and seniors, and may be obtained through the CVPA Box Office, eps.arts.usf.edu under “more events.” Reservations are recommended.