The body can convey so much more than words, and in just one semester, the USF School of Theatre and Dance has taken the raw energy of the body and turned it into a joyful, expressive vessel from which sorrow, ecstasy and even psychosis flow.
The Fall Dance Concert this year has a rich lineup with each dance being even more thought provoking than the next.
The first performance featured three male dancers.
Robert Kelley, a sophomore majoring in theater, said he hoped more men would join the department.
“We would love to have more men in the dance department,” Kelley said. “More strong, more powerful.”
The performance, titled “The Artifice of Pretense: Discovering the True Trophy,” featured about 10 dancers and was minimalistic in style, conveying the idea that people should shed their facades and focus on who they are in order to find happiness.
The second performance was by far the most confusing and the most boring. It was told through the music of Bach — not a rousing symphony but a harpsichord lullaby. But while the dance and music were blasé, the performance was worth seeing simply for the dramatic white and red costumes.
“Picture in a Frame,” another performance, consisted of precise movement with chairs and was set to Tom Waits, which gave an extra kick.
One piece, however, stood out as a spectacle of light and drone music. It was fascinating to watch, and at first may have captivated the audience’s attention simply because it was so startlingly different from anything else put into the show.
“In the Absence of Light,” choreographed by Andee Scott, features two talented dancers and is a study of emotional provocation through a contrast of light and darkness.
Scott marveled over how something so simplistic can move someone so much.
“I’m really interested in the intersection between light and movement because something really magical happens there,” she said.
The audience’s reaction to the piece was visceral, but the simplistic choreography lets the mind delve into places that may be jarring for some. Not only does this piece force one to consider one’s self, but it forces one to consider humanity as a whole.
“We’re missing pieces of light and what you have to do to fill that in … is an emotional response, but then it also does something very beautiful, I think, to the body,” Scott said. “I think we start to see people but then the bodies also provide a way for us to see the light, which I find very interesting.”
From, “Dying Swan,” the physically tantalizing ballet spectacle about the final hours of a swan, to the grand finale of a bright light and celebratory tribal dance, after intermission is when the show really gets going.
Though it was beautiful, “This is How You Lose Her,” the second to last act, could have been cut a bit in length, and the choreographer’s poignant message about female identity and schizophrenia could have been conveyed more clearly.
“El Alma Desencadenada,” or “Soul Unchained,” was by far the most uplifting and exciting.
A large group of men and women took to the stage beside two drummers. Suddenly, in an explosion of sound and color as the lights came on, young men and women were dressed in traditional African garb and danced their hardest to the tough-tribal beat.
“It’s just a totally different thing being on stage and doing the dance from being in the studio,” junior Breanna King, one of the dancers in “Soul Unchained,” said. “It’s still an adrenaline rush. You still feel tired and out of breath but you don’t even care, you’re just happy to be on stage, doing what you love.”
The show will continue Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. in Theatre 1. Advanced student tickets are
$8 and $10 the day of the performance. For box office hours, location and other ticketing information, visit boxoffice.arts.usf.edu.