NC State Fall Dance Concert showcases versatality, emotion

The story was initially published on the Technician page on Nov. 19, 2017.

      • Shawn Fredericks, Correspondent;

    Photo by Robert Davezac

The NC State dance program lit up the stage at its fall concert last weekend at Stewart Theatre. The concert featured dynamic performances from both the  NCSU Dance Company and Panoramic Dance Project, as well as independent study performances and guest choreography.

NCSU Dance Company is an academic modern dance company founded in 1987 that is recognized by the American College Dance association, and Panoramic Dance Project an academic dance company that incorporates multiple dance styles in a world context.

The concert is what NCSU Dance program director Tara Mullins described as a “taste of the dance program,” showcasing pieces from both dance companies during the concert. The performance included the following pieces: “Cinderbox 2.0” excerpt, “Circulus in Probando,” “Perfect Sight,” “James” excerpt, “All That Ever Falls,” “After Dark,” “A Taste,” “Nakhre” and “Agua Furiosa.”

Featuring vastly different styles of dance, the dancers at this year’s fall concert brought a new level of fun and energy to the stage. The concert began as the dancers performed a comedy piece to open the show, which they learned by way of Lucky Plus productions. Also, for the first time in the dance program’s history, the performance featured a classical Indian and Western dance mixture in the piece.

NCSU Dance Company performed “All That Ever Falls,” a very personal piece to Mullins, who views dance as a storytelling technique of sorts which conveys deeply rooted human emotion.

“‘All That Ever Falls’ is about my niece,” Mullins said. “It’s about self forgiveness. I created the movement around old family photographs.”

Panoramic Dance Project performed an excerpt of  “James,” one of the pieces she choreographed for this year’s fall concert. New artist director Francine Ott described the piece as representative of the dancers’ inner emotional states.

“[The piece is] an exploration of their internal voice,” Ott said. “A lot of the time, when we are speaking we have an inner dialogue. I try to incorporate dance with what I have learned in the mental health field — it is an exploration of their thinking, their emotions and their feeling, [and] using this space to work through these things.”

Ott also shared that the piece is inspired by biblical scripture, an element she did not tell her students of until later on, as she wanted to get to know her students on a human level first.

Ever versatile in content, the concert was enjoyed by many — including people who do not frequently attend dance concerts.

“At first I didn’t understand at the message they were trying to convey but, as the flow of the show progressed, I was able to understand the message they were trying to convey,” said Nicholas Rinz, a fourth-year studying medical textiles.

The pieces that the dance companies perform are research-based dances connected to film and literature, and are performed by exceptionally talented group of individuals.

Mullins elaborated on the intricate process that makes a dance concert come together in a fluid performance full of talent.

“We really push students beyond their boundaries,” Mullins said. “It’s a real empathetic art form — you understand other people’s perspective, [and] it is really spiritual and emotional.”

The dancers within the program evidently worked long and hard, and are continually working to further sharpen their artful craft.

For Dedree Scott, a third-year studying human biology, dance is more than just a pastime — it is a safe haven.

“Dance is my downtime,” Scott said. “It’s a place where I can be free … it’s my safe space, [and] I want to learn more dance styles.”

The effort put into a dance program performance is extensive, and is a team effort between both companies. *Daniela Patino-Zabaleta, a member of Panoramic Dance Project and a second-year studying business administration, is one of many who helped contribute during rehearsals. For Patino-Zabaleta, being a part of Panoramic Dance Company has helped foster a sense of community.

“It’s been very fulfilling,” *Patino-Zabaleta said. “I’ve got the opportunity to learn choreography from a professional company as well from Francine. It’s been great, [and] I have been able to explore dance through humanity. I learned to be more of a dancer, and explored my human condition through dance.”

*Editor’s Note: this article was corrected to correctly reflect a quote.