On the evening of Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m., members of the Lewiston community, local dancers, dance companies, and several Bates students gathered at the Gendron Franco Center for the 14th Annual Winter Franco and Bates Dance Showcase (F.A.B.). F.A.B. featured 14 pieces of dance in various genres such as hip hop, modern, and ensemble-based dance and included performances from Bates’ very own Sara Hollenberg ’19, Johanna Hayes ’19 2 B.E.A.T.S, and recent Bates graduate Jorge Piccole ’18. The F.A.B showcase is a great opportunity for the Bates and Lewiston communities to come together via the medium of dance while also including several dance companies and groups from the greater Portland area. The dance showcase brought to light the various forms of dance present within our communities. A handful of pieces had strong messages, others told stories, and some focused on the technicality and precision of movement.
Some of the pieces that caught my attention in these regards were “Pushed,” choreographed and performed by Gisela Creus, “Togetherness,” choreographed and performed by Emily Murray, Gabe Paulin, Danny Rand, and Aislinn Travis, “Sikeena,” choreographed and performed by Amirah Sackett, “Hanging Up the Old Coat,” choreographed and performed by Molly Gawler, “Before the Split.” choreographed by Julie Fox and Johanna Hayes and performed by Johanna Hayes, and “Wild Rice,” choreographed by TJ Emmerman ’21, Hanchen Zhang ’19, Galen Hooks, and Matt Stefanina. Both “Pushed” and “Hanging Up the Old Coat” are solo dances derived from modern-based movement which present stories. “Pushed” included a story of a woman getting prepared for her day by always adjusting her tie, which she eventually took off. “Hanging Up the Old Coat” followed a strong storyline evident in the choreography which showcased the relationship between a woman and the memories she has tied to a coat-jacket.
“Togetherness” had a strong message and was performed by a group of dancers that showcased their individual abilities in dancing while completing several group lifts. In my view, this piece seemed to be trying to bring political awareness to the audience but dramatically missed the mark. Its message focused on a shallow political statement about how Millennials are becoming more politically active. At one point in the piece, the dancers ‘epically’ danced to Hallelujah after excerpts of Millennials talking about politics were played.
“Before the Split,” “Wild Rice,” and “Sikeena” communicated strong themes. “Before the Split” was performed by a Bates graduate and presented contrasting movements with changes of sounds. There was a stark difference between the soft and sharp textures within the piece. “Sikeena” combined hip hop with the poetry of Rumi to show themes of identity, while “Wild Rice” focused more on the precision of their movements. “Sikeena” also featured very thoughtful movements and isolation work. “Wild Rice” showcased the capabilities of intricate and high demanding movements. I was so impressed with how 2 B.E.A.T.S. moved with such cohesion and precision.
Overall, the night proved to be a wonderful experience in which I got to see the many forms of movement present within the greater Bates/Lewiston community. It also was a really lovely experience to see dance outside of Bates at the Franco center, a great gathering center within Lewiston. For more information about upcoming events, like the Franco Center on Facebook or visit their website at www.francocenter.org.