Last dance: Modern-dance seniors bid a fond farewell in their final two productions

Last weekend at theMarriott Center for Dance,seniors from the U’s departmentof modern dance exitedthe stage and the semesterwith the first segment of theirlatest two-part production,”A Little Less Conversation…A Little More Action.”The production included aspectrum of intelligent dance,as the outgoing class combinedthemes largely dedicatedto the pleasure of danceand the culmination of theirfour-year careers at the U.Opening the evening withthe wonderfully inclusivepiece, “Hello Goodbye, Hello,”choreographed by wellknownNew York City artistsSara Pearson and Patrick Widrig,the senior class portrayedthe organic, celebratory pieceremarkably, even with a fewobvious absences.Noticeably short-handed,the clockwork of the piece,played out to a “music collage”by Widrig, still managedto move intricately through itsturning and grinding musicalstructure. The ending of thepiece demonstrated its collectivemovement, as the 20-plusdancers, lined in equal rows,rose and advanced toward theaudience, then cascaded, tumblingback to make way for themimicking background movementmaking its way forward.From the ground, heads ofconfusion rose and lookedaround as the class shouted,”April Fool’s!” then ran offstage rather than taking handsand bowing for the usual curtaincall.From that collective demonstration,the eveningmoved into a more intrinsicperspective, with senior MiaProvenzano’s piece, “A Bowlof Oatmeal Tried to Stare MeDown.”Using Willie Nelson’s renditionof “Crazy” as its musicalaccompaniment, the pieceopened with a single dancerin red dress, with a soft complimentarypicture backdropof what appeared to be theAmerican Heartland.The next segment ofProvenzano’s piece featuredthe face of a music aficionado,enjoying a tune by Wilco, positionednext to a subtle windowwith a blank stare, givingthe impression she was visualizingthe duet happening onstage.Boxed lighting closed thesegment with a red-skirtedsolo to the music of JohnPrine’s “Big Ol’ Goofy World,”with big ol’ goofyshimmies andPrine’s interestingmixture ofpoetry and use ofcommon, bizarresimiles.Graham Brownpieced togetheran interestinglook into the hiphopdance culturewith “Bitsand Pieces,”beginning humorouslywith asingle parka-clad’wanksta’ maletrying his best tocatch the soul ofhip-hop with hipthrusts and by’raising the roof.’This piececould quite possiblyhave killeda person’s passion for hip-hop,as the music seemed disturbinglydisjointed and the danceappearing as guesswork, atbest. Thanks to the awkwardstringing together of talentedwork by hip-hop giants suchas Cut Chemist (notoriousfrom his work with Jurassic5) and A Tribe Called Quest,the piece lacked the urban appealit needed to incorporatefor the desired effect of realism.Perhaps the piece aimedat self-ridicule, which wouldseem somewhat more fitting.Seniors TiffanyHarrisonand JennyLarsen movedthe eveninginto a piecededicated tothe playfulnature of toddlers.Dressed in white tanktops and khaki cargo pants,short stepping and play werethe piece’s central themes,moving to tones of electronicaby Underworld, with dubsof children singing and laughingproviding overtones ofadolescent innocence.Oddly sequenced to followHarrison and Larsen’s “HeyBuggajo Wanna Play?” theprovocative “Find Your OwnMeaning,” which included anadvisory message of “adultcontent,” led to the usheringout of at least three toddlersin the audience.Though seemingly largelysexual, the piece provedconsiderably developed andsignificant, as four dancers,seniors Sara Christensen,Alysa Haas, Chris DelPorto,with choreographer AmberWatkins, thrashed through anorgy of closeness to the angrymusic of Neurosis.”Verge,” and later, “Buttercup,”choreographed by FaithHunt Levine and Laura MarieBradley respectively, broughta pleasurable tone back to thenight.”…A Little More Action,”the second part of the seniormodern dance production,will run April 14-16, withshows starting at 7:30 [email protected]