The weekend is almost here, which means days without hour long breaks at rush hour in Libe and an alarm clock that is set for a time in the pm. But ask any dancer in the upcoming March Dance show at the Schwartz Center about their plans for the weekend, and they’ll likely respond with “Weekend? What weekend?”
It’s crunch time for the dancers who are performing in Glory and Rue: Street Dances, meaning that it’s time for a lot of tech rehearsal, a lot of dancing, and many hours spent in the Schwartz Center, putting the finishing touches on the performance before it premieres on Thursday, March 5. As a member of the cast, I can say that there will be a serious number of hours spent in the Kiplinger Theater, a fair number of snack breaks at CTB, and hopefully at least one quick nap in the oh-so-comfy red seats in the Kiplinger.
The show, which looks to run close to an hour and a half, is choreographed by dance senior lecturers Jumay Chu and Byron Suber, who teamed up to create a performance that is packed with movement, sometimes at a frantic, almost rushed, pace, and other times more meditative and still. The dancing reflects the moods of the pedestrian world, of the outside world that is found on the streets. The streets that hold particular roles of inspiration include the streets of Venice, Paris, Rome, and of course, our favorite town, Ithaca.
From the perspective of dancer, this blogger can say that the show will be exciting and visually interesting, for it also uses multi-media and video to portray the imagery of street life. There were a couple of days during the sunny days of the fall semester (remember those?) when we were asked to dance in public spaces, not just as performers for the unsuspecting people at the farmers’ market and on College Avenue, but also as performers in front of the camera that filmed our movements. Many months later, this footage will be integrated into the show as well, with some fantastic editing done by Rob Ochshorn who followed us around as we broke social norms and whipped out pre-choreographed counts of eight throughout Ithaca.
The process of putting the show together has been long-lasting, but as the countdown begins, it definitely feels like the show is congealing at a rapid pace, with every day filled with progress and clarifying moments. (“What wing do I enter from? What wing do you exit to? Who goes on next? Why is she onstage?”). The confusion backstage is all just a part of the process, as the performance transitions from being an abstraction to a real, set, defined piece of art.
One of the best parts of the show is the music, which is composed by Allen Fogelsanger, our fantastic musician and the head of the Dance Department. The music is phenomenal; and every dancer has his or her fave part, but some highlights include “the part that sounds like it was inspired by a video-game” and “the Euro-techno section.” My favorite part of the music is a section with violins that is emotionally stirring, but the music switches moods and pace and genre almost as quickly as the dancers move their bodies. Almost.
At this point, the update can be summarized as such: it’s almost there! We’re definitely full speed ahead for a great dance performance, and as one of only a few dance shows to be performed on the large Kiplinger Theater stage, you better not miss it. The dancers are Cornell students (current and past) as well as two women who are part of the greater Ithaca community.
It’s gonna be a great show. More to come on this blog, but go ahead and buy your tickets now at the Schwartz Center Box Office. 607-254-ARTS. And if you see a dancer sleep-walking around campus, just say “Stand up!” To which they should reply, “Okay!” The significance of such interchange? To be revealed in Glory and Rue: Street Dances. March 5, 6, 7 at 7:30 pm and March 8 at 2 pm.