It’s been my experience in class and outside that part of learning how to dance is through observation. I have been to two dance showcases in the past few weeks that have definitely given me the opportunity to shed new and much needed meaning to dancing for me. As an African woman, I come from a culture that is rich with all sort of folk dances. Although I am not from a family of dancers, I have been fortunate to experience many different dance by attending events such as wedding, parties and other forms of celebratory events, however I have never comprehended that different dances had different meaning and stories to tell. Dance was just a dance where people incorporated their own unique movement to show off their skills. No much of information were provided about the dances in some cases therefore I will try to give a guessed explanations of some of the dances
In the two showcase I attended, dancers performed variety of different dances. Most of these dances where different in respect to where the dance originated from, the style of dance, which instrument were used and purpose of the dance or rather the story behind it. As no cameras were allowed I will try to give a clear comparison narrative of the performances.
The first showcase I attended is called the “ShapeShift”. It is a student and faculty choreography showcase performed at the UNM gymnasium auditorium. There were about eight different dance performances. It seemed to me that overall theme for the showcase was Halloween as almost all the dancers in all different performance had skull mask or skull makeup on their faces. Out of the eight different dances the ones that was captivating, really caught my mind and by far my favorite dance was “SIN MIEDO”. This is sort of a flamingo incorporated with tap dance. The dancer, a female wore a very elaborate long black umbrella dress. She had sort like a big sun flower in her hair and her face was painted skull. The dance consisted with a lot of leg movement by making tapping sounds with her shoes. Her body expression was that something who has been possessed by demons. Most of the time the dancer would get in very uncomfortable position by making twisting movement with her arms and legs in the opposite direction. What I found interesting about this dance was the dancer’s physical capabilities to move her arms and legs in direction impossible to me.
Another favorite dance from the same showcase is called the “Moving”. This is a modern contemporary dance performed by two dancers; a male and a female. In the dance performance, the dancer mostly danced with their lower body. A lot of legwork, mainly ballet stressing the torso. I thought this dance was amazing. It was soothing to the eyes and intimately well done. There was a lot of physical contact among the two dancers, where they’d wrap their bodies over each other while dancing to pre-recorded music in the background. The rest of the performances in first showcase was mainly modern contemporary. The dances were similar to that of the “Moving”.
The second showcase that I attended is “ADJOR” meaning peace. This was a Showcase about Wamba Drums and Dance Ensemble