Dancescape celebrates 25 years of WSU art

Allison Mueller

Ana Alexander/ Winonan

On Thursday, Feb. 12, Dancescape celebrated its 25th anniversary on its opening night. The Vivian R. Fusillo Main Stage Theatre was filled with students, parents, professors and dance fans. The sound of excited chatter reverberated across the theatre before the lights darkened and the show began.

Dancescape offered a wide range of diverse pieces that showed off the innovation and creativity of the dance program. Each piece was unique and expressed different emotions or messages, and left the audience plenty of room to come up with their own interpretations.

One dance in the performance titled “Sleep,” was choreographed by Kelly Douglas. Instead of using recorded music, the piece incorporated a choir. Their voices melded together harmoniously, rising and falling with the dancer’s movements. The dancers gracefully moved across the stage, utilizing the space as they danced in synchronization, and then broke apart from one another. The piece ended with the dancers near the back of the stage, facing away from the audience, and leaning on one another as if asleep. As the choir voices quietly repeated “sleep,” one dancer broke off from the group one at a time and danced their way off stage until only two dancers remained. One of the dancers gently lowered the other dancer to the floor into a sleeping position, and then the first dancer flitted offstage as the choir’s voices trailed off, and the audience erupted into clapping.

The other standout piece of the show was “Ode to Swimme,” which was choreographed by Jacque Markevitch-Paulsen. The entire theatre grew pitch black and remained that way until the music began and two sparkling whips lit a small portion of the stage, the strands of light weaving through one another. The glowing and sparkling whips were striking. The crowd let out “oohs” and “ahhs” during the performance.  The dancers began to whirl the whips around them as they danced, playing with the light. Then they exited, and the lights on stage brightened a little, still leaving the stage fairly dim. More dancers entered with levitating wands they swung around themselves, illuminating their silhouettes only slightly.

Once again, the lights dimmed and the sparkling whips returned to the stage. The dancers flashed across the stage in a multitude of glowing colors, wrapping the whips around themselves while they leapt past each other. The piece ended with the dancers shaking their whips around one of the dancers, who stood with their arms extended straight out. It created a striking silhouette surrounded by sparkling light. Once again, the audience broke out into loud applause as the curtains fell, and the lights on stage darkened.

“I liked the light show, it was so psychedelic,” one audience member commented to another as the lights in the theatre came back on in between pieces.

“Ode to Swimme” was a hit. It brought something extra to the show. Each piece brought something different to the table, but “Ode to Swimme” stood out with its use of darkness and the way it played with the movement of the lights.

The show concluded with a bubbly piece, “Inclined To Be That Way,” which was choreographed by Kim Neal Nofsinger. The title played off Patsy Cline whose song “Have You Ever Been Lonely” was the final song in the piece.

The dance began with Robbie Deering, decked out in crinoline and a floral dress, twirling on stage alone, holding a bouquet of flowers. Soon, other dancers joined him, fluttering around while attempting to gain one another’s attention. The piece was upbeat and fun despite the occasional disappointment on the faces of the dancer’s, as they were sometimes spited or ignored by the object of their affection.

Throughout the piece, dancers seem to be chasing after the bouquets of flowers other dancers have, and the show concluded with all of the dancers holding their own bouquets.

Sidney Junk, the stage manager of the show, counts “Inclined To Be That Way” amongst her favorite pieces of the show, saying “It’s bright and high energy. It tells a story. We can all relate to lost love.”

The show ended with a curtain call and all of the dancers rejoined the stage, dancing wildly together as the crowd clapped, and the dancers gave their final bows.