Dance transcends beyond the stage
Zodiaque Dance Company’s fall show uses film, set pieces and red petals along with its choreography
Zodiaque Dance Company doesn’t always have to be on stage to entice its crowds.
During this weekend’s performances, Zodiaque won over audiences with “As Within, So Without,” a pre-recorded, on-stage visual display.
From Oct. 17 to 20, UB’s Department of Theatre and Dance presented the Zodiaque Dance Company’s fall performance at the Drama Theatre at the CFA. The student dance group, led by artistic director Kerry Ring and with help from choreographers and international guest artists, asked the question “What is Dance?” as the performers explored multiple styles like ballet, tap and contemporary.
This show was the first time Zodiaque incorporated a short film as one of their pieces in its 46 seasons. During the film, the dancers switched between all white and all black outfits as they danced in different indoor and outdoor locations. The footage felt like a documentary of events rather than a pre-planned film.
“The Fourth Agreement,” a piece in the second act, proved to be a highlight. It began with the audio of a Charlie Chaplin speech from “The Great Dictator.” The title of the piece comes from the book “The Four Agreements” that focuses on how to become your best self in four steps. During the piece, the dancers stand in the middle of a spotlight on stage as red flower petals fall from above.
Junior dance major Homeria Lubin, one of the dancers in “The Fourth Agreement,” said she had fun with the piece.
“There’s a lot of energy in it. It’s kind of dark, and there’s a really strong meaning behind it,” Lubin said. “The piece is about being your best all the time and how you can do that really.”
Kelsey Wegman, a sophomore dance major, also performed in “The Fourth Agreement.” She was in the first act as well in the piece titled “Kyrie Eleison,” and she liked dancing in the two thematically different pieces. While all the other pieces only had the dancers on stage and nothing else, “Kyrie Eleison” used wooden benches as part of the choreography.
“I was in two pieces that were like polar opposites. So, I was able to showcase different aspects of my dancing,” Wegman said.
“Transparent/See,” choreographed by LA Dance Company, Entity Contemporary Dance, proved to be a second-act highlight. During the piece, Zodiaque removed the curtains and backdrop so the audience could see the backstage area. This allowed the stage to appear like a factory and showcased dancers as workers in the factory.
“I think it was a big highlight for us. They were so awesome with their choreography and awesome as people,” Savannah Sigmon, a senior dance major, said. “It’s such an honor to showcase their work on the stage.”
Hannah Mackey, a senior BFA in Theatre Design and Technology and lighting designer had to meet with all the choreographers to discuss their pieces and create a design for each piece. While this production was challenging for Mackey, she says it was also a great creative and learning experience.
“The hardest part of this production is learning where to place cues, where different looks will happen and how I can work with the choreographer to make these visions for their pieces come to life,” Mackey said. “Each dance piece is extremely unique and therefore allowed me to be creative with my designs, presenting fun challenges and learning moments throughout the process.”
Jakob Strzelec, a first-year graduate student in Athletic Training, originally came to support a friend in the production but said he enjoyed the unique experience.
“It was a lot different than I was expecting, but it was like a good different,” Strzelec said. “The different styles of dance [stood out to me]. I wasn’t expecting a lot of it to happen all at once.”
Lubin hopes that the audience enjoyed the show with all the different dances that were used. After opening night, she was happy with how the show turned out.
“Everyone had a lot of positive energy, and we really fed off each other,” Lubin said. “It was just so much fun to dance with everyone that I’m around all the time.”
Caroline Sheehan, a senior dance major, wants Zodiaque to continue to bring in dance companies from other parts of the world and have a variety of styles in future performances.
“I think this particular season was really special because it was so versatile,” Sheehan said. “We had the tap and the contemporary and the ballet. So I think going forward in the future, I hope the company keeps bringing in strong influences.”
Anastasia Wilds is an assistant arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @AnastasiaWilds.