Dancers rehearse for “In This Place,” the Spring Dance Concert. RILEY HOPKINS/THE BATES STUDENT

Spring has sprung and that means it’s time for the Spring Dance Concert. The Theater and Dance Department hosts the concert each year to showcase the pieces choreographed by students in Intermediate and Advanced Composition courses.

Student choreographers hold an open dance day in the first week of winter semester as a way to choose their casts. Rehearsals commence as soon as possible and students work on the performance throughout the semester.

Many pieces in the concert were created by experienced dancers who are also first-time choreographers. One choreographer in Intermediate Composition, Riley Hopkins ’18, is putting together a piece in collaboration with his dancers for the first time in his career. He noted that this piece “didn’t go as planned…I totally didn’t expect the piece to be what it is now.” To find inspiration, his cast watched Beyoncé’s “Formation” music video as well as other pop-culture sources and drew ideas from the movements therein. Creating a piece means that you can take whatever creative liberties with your movements that you wish, and Hopkins enjoyed exploring all the possibilities with his cast.

Since the choreographers have influence over who is in their cast, they have some liberty with what type of movement vocabulary they want their dancers to have. Keila Ching ’18 selected a cast of movers experienced in ballroom dance, Thai kick-boxing, soccer, lacrosse, cross country, and theater to augment the movements that she choreographed. Each dancer was able to generate some original material. Their unique movement backgrounds allowed their movement to be drastically different from both each other and what Ching would have created. Ching said, “It is through this mixture of vocabularies that my piece has been created.”

Charlotte Cramer ’19 had an exceptional experience choreographing a piece this winter. Her piece discusses the inner workings of the human mind, such as the way the mind thinks and the way we feel emotions. She was able to take emotions and experiences from her life and put them into a piece. She said that it has been “the most amazing experience of [her] life.” Further, exploring the impact that lighting and sound score have on the perception of emotions and movement has enhanced her piece and elevated it to a higher level.

The composition process as a whole emphasizes the meaning behind movement, and it can raise questions that dancers hadn’t previously addressed. As each choreographer explores their piece’s meaning, the piece itself may change.

In Advanced Composition, Mallory Cohen ’17 created a piece utilizing the movements of her dancers as inspiration. Her piece started as an exploration of dance and recovery of the joy it can bring, in recognition of the difficult technique classes dancers often take and how they may limit personal expression. With that background, Cohen expanded her piece to discuss female sensuality through movement, as this “allows us to say who we are disregarding what society tells us we should be.” She also has been working with musician Ned Thunem to compose an original piece for her movement.

Other pieces in the concert will highlight a feeling of home, comedy, and explorations of the self, as well as two senior theses in Dance by Mary Anne Bodnar ’16 and Kelsey Schober ’16.

Come see all of these lovely works created and managed by your very own Bates peers this weekend. Concerts are Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and you can reserve your tickets online.