The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Maddie Fagundo

What We Find catapults us into spring

Comprised of two acts, programs A&B, Bates’ Department of Theater and Dance spring dance concert was sensational. Program A of the concert “What We Find,” directed by Associate Professor and Director of Dance Rachel Boggia and Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Julie Fox, ended March on a lively note. Nothing surpasses the pleasure of watching the students you regularly pass in Commons or spend diligent hours studying with, move their bodies in expressive ways on stage.

All of the pieces were meticulously choreographed and brought to life by the fluid bodies of Bates dancers. Composed of eight dances like: Mallory Cohen’s ’17 Saturated: four movement poems, a combination of poetry and dance, Elizabeth Lau’s, who teaches Dance 270, composition of hip hop in A Better Tomorrow, and Riley Hopkins’ ’18 amusing How’s your semester going?. The concert was full of talent.

As the lights dimmed and the audience quieted down, the stage lights illuminated a soft white on dancers: Sydney Anderson ’20, Charlotte Cramer ’19, Shae Gwydir ’20, Rebecca Howard ’19, and Louisa Woodhouse ’19. They seamlessly performed Mallory Cohen’s piece, Saturated: four movement poems. The dancers moved across the stage in ethereal grey dresses that flowed with their movements. Senior Lecturer in Theater, Managing Director of Theater and Dance, Lighting Designer and Set Designer Michael Reidy’s lighting highlighted individual dancers while softly illuminating others. The dancers found a variety of creative ways to use the single prop of a bench. While most would find it difficult to see beyond the concrete inflexibility of a wooden bench, the dancers used it for support and stability through their movements.

Phasing on and off the stage, the dancers evoked anticipation throughout the crowd. There were sequences of repeated movements that brought on different feelings and emotions, transferring from the dancers’ facial expressions to the audience’s reaction. As a result, the audience was never left bored because no movement was predictable.

Moreover, the performers’ motions were smooth and connected. Cohen’s dance was accompanied by echoes of Iain S. Thomas poem “I wrote this for you PLEASEFINDTHIS” in the background. The choreography was a momentous representation of the poem. The audience could see the trust and commitment the dancers had with one another as they moved on and around each other. I could feel audience members gasping as a dancer leaped or dropped her weight; nevertheless, dancers always controlled the weight shifts. The dancers finished in a strong triangular position. Anchored in a theme of connection, the dance was empowering.

Shortly following, the audience was mesmerized by Lau and other dancer’s energetic dance A Better Tomorrow. This performance was an explosion of hip movements and bright colors. The seventeen dancers radiated energy throughout the stage as they grooved to 2Pac, Queen Latifah, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Faith Evans. The style of the dance was loose, powerful, and fast — it made you want to take a hip-hop class.

The concert closed with Hopkins’ humorous and funky How’s your semester going? The five dancers, including Hopkins himself, displayed the comfort they established with each other as they engaged in eccentric movements. Hopkins’ choreography reflected the hard work the Advanced Composition dance class provided. The dance was inspired by the shallow conversations we have with people we commonly pass.

Hopkins wanted to create a “piece that revealed what we really want to say when we have these superficial, socially constructed conversations.” Although the piece did evoke laughter from the audience, Hopkins claims that he “didn’t necessarily want my piece to evoke specific emotions from the audience.” However, he did want the audience to reflect on their “own day to day small talk with people they run into and what those conversations are actually covering up.” The dance provoked and engaged the audience, a result for which every choreographer strives to achieve.

As a whole, the show displayed insurmountable talent. I highly recommend that students attend the next dance concert to absorb the creations and creativity of their peers.

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Dancers strike a strong pose that sets the tone for the show.
JAMES MACDONALD/THE BATES STUDENT

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Walking across the stage, performers project strength.
JAMES MACDONALD/THE BATES STUDENT

 

“I could talk music all day” An interview with Jan Pastor

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jan Pastor ’20 from Warsaw, Poland, about his electronic musical composition for the class “Computer Music and The Arts.” In a music studio in Olin, I learned about his musical piece “Within Me,” which was performed February 14th in the Olin center. Here’s what I found out:

Fagundo: Why did you take this class?

Pastor: I took this class because I wanted to experiment with something creative. I like being able to create my own video and musical compositions. I have no experience in writing music, so I was intimidated by our first project.

Fagundo: Do you have a musical past?

Pastor: I have an unsuccessful musical past: I tried playing the piano, violin, guitar, and the recorder until the age of eleven. I never got good at anything, and quit too much. But, I think it is nice to have live instruments in compositions, so I might try something out again. This class makes me want to want to continue working with music.

Fagundo: Is your family musical?

Pastor: Yeah, I have a strong musical background in family. My grandfather was a well known violinist from Argentina, my uncle is a music professor at UCLA, and my mom is a ballet dancer. I’ve grown up surrounded by music and the arts.

Fagundo: Can you tell me about the assignment?

Pastor: We were assigned to compose any type of original piece. So basically, we could create anything that wasn’t sampled. We all used the program Logic, which is an upgrade from GarageBand. The lyrics I wrote are similar to a generic pop song about going through change, and my friend, Josie Blanchon, sang them really well.

Fagundo: Were you inspired by any artist or song?

Pastor: Yeah, actually I was inspired by Maddie Rogers, a young up-and-coming artist. I followed the structure and vibe of Dog Days. Since this is my first piece, I had to use elements from songs.

Fagundo: What was the most challenging?

Pastor: Making sure that every instrument was heard, which required a lot of complicated mixing. I read a lot of guides online to learn how to do it.

Fagundo: What instruments did you use?

Pastor: There are synths, a voice, an acoustic guitar, a bass, a piano, a tweed-picked electric guitar, and drums. I think the piano dominates throughout the chorus but every instrument has its fair share.

Fagundo: Was there any emotion you were trying to evoke?

Pastor: I wanted this idea that the song was moving somewhere. The concept was quite a lot of open space to sound more relaxed.

Fagundo: Do you think your music is different from popular music?

Pastor: Haha, no way! I just started so I am just trying to figure it out. It takes so many years to find what your sound is.

Fagundo: What do you think of modern electronic music?

Pastor: I like electronic music. I think you can do anything with it. You can make a song that either sounds really synthesized, or you can make a song that sounds really authentic. There is a lot of meaningless pop songs today, but I think those are just artists in popular industries that care more about fame than talent. I personally don’t like to measure what I listen to by what is popular.

Fagundo: Can you explain your music taste?

Pastor: I like the alternative genre. My favorite band is Radiohead. I think their best songs are “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,” and the super sad song, “Motion Picture Soundtrack.”

Fagundo: Where do you get most of your music?

Pastor: I read a lot of pitchfork, an online music magazine. It’s easy to find new music on Spotify, too.

Fagundo: Are you going to take more music classes at Bates?

Pastor: I think so, I think it is important to have musical knowledge. It’s an awesome creative outlet.

Fagundo: If you could be any artist who would you be?

Pastor: Snoop Dogg, for sure. He is the chillest guy around. I recommend his song “Who Am I?”

For more of Pastor, you can listen to his friends and his radio show “The Late Show” 12:00 – 2:00 a.m on Tuesday mornings.

 

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