Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring into Dance combines movement, sound, and sculpture

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - Percussionist Taylor Stanton is accustomed to teamwork. As a member of the Southeast Missouri Orchestra’s rhythm section, he has to keep his ears open to sounds of his fellow musicians. But for the new Spring into Dance recital, that collaboration goes beyond music.

Listen to the story. 

“It was a joint collaboration between Dr. Reynolds, Dr. Strauss, some people in the Art department, and all of the heads of the Dance department too,” Stanton said. “It’s one big collaboration between all three departments.”

Spring into Dance is a dance production that features lives music from the Southeast Missouri Orchestra, choreography by Southeast dance instructors, and original sculpture pieces by the Department of Art.

The production will continue through Sunday.

This year’s production consists of two acts, the first featuring choreography by Southeast faculty and students, as well as renowned guest choreographer, Susan Quinn. The second act features 20th century works by Gustav Holst’s The Planets.

Holst’s work was composed from 1914-1916 during the war-torn years of World War I. The sense of destruction and subsequent rebuilding is sensed through the music, and reinforces every move performed by the dancers.

Instructor of Dance and Choreography, Philip Edgecombe describes how the interdepartmental collaboration sheds a new light onto how important working with others can be to enhance artistic creation.

“I think overall with the collaboration we are accomplishing something that would have been impossible,” Edgecombe says. “The joy of having live music, I think the joy of having original art created for the pieces, and original choreography coming together somewhat harmoniously, but also sometimes not, I think that creates something kind of exciting.”

Four of the nine works of Holst’s opus will be performed, including Mars- Bringer of War, Venus-Bringer of Peace, Mercury- the Winger Messenger, and Jupiter- the Bringer of Jollity.

Mars begins with strong and powerful orchestral movements, followed by the harmonious melody of Venus and the swift, stream-lined sounds of Mercury and closes with the joyous music of Jupiter.

Each movement underscores the progression of war, from times of hardship and battle followed by peace, and the inevitable rebuilding and healing brought about through the passage of time.

Associate Professor of Art, Chris Wubbena, and his team of students have been toiling away for several months to complete several large-scale elements for the performers to utilize during the show.

The sculptures range from about five feet tall to twelve feet tall and are very interactive. Some will be suspended from the ceiling while others glide effortlessly across the floor, all providing a stunning visual element to the performance.

Not only does he believe that each own department has an important job to create something compelling, but the combined artwork of all three departments is vital to the show.

“I also think the end result and the creation of artwork is important,” Wubbena says. “Maybe that is the most important thing. Creating something that is powerful, impressive, and inspiring. All those things, but using the different means of student collaboration and faculty collaboration. Those things, I think, add to that experience in the end.”

The hopes of the students and faculty of the production are not only to create an impressive display of performance and music, but to inspire future performers and artists to put their heads together and work with others on projects down the line.

Wubbena feels that while collaboration between departments is challenging, a compelling result that makes an audience feel inspired is the end that justifies the means.

“If I would have to say something is the most important, I would have to say the overall artwork, in general, and what it leaves the viewer with at the end is probably the most important,” Wubbena says.

Spring into Dance shows at the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus from Thursday April 14th through Saturday April 16th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday April 17th at 2 p.m.

Daniel Rohr, KRCU

Photo courtesy of Southeast Missouri State University


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