Identification and Description
The University of Houston’s Ensemble Dance Works 2013 was divided into seven parts, each containing unique dance characteristics. The purpose for this performance was to showcase many of Houston’s choreographer talents. Throughout each of the seven pieces, there were several themes and settings used. Each setting was carefully selected and implemented to induce a profound emotion, or sensation, out of the audience. For instance, Sara Draper’s First Day of Spring displayed eight dancers all dressed in baby blue colored clothing. The clothes were loosely bound to allow the clothes to flow with the wind. This element along with the baby blue background stage, which mimicked the dancer’s clothing, created a feeling of harmony and peace. The lights fully illuminated the entire stage, making each dancer visible to the audience. The usage of vocalization and facial expressions from the performers separated this performance from the rest. For instance, throughout the performance the dancers wore vibrant smiles that highlight the joy each dancer had while performing. They clapped their hands with each energetic step they took, and radiated positive energy throughout the stage. With these characteristics taken into consideration, one could easily assume that the setting for this piece was in a “heavenly” location “hidden” in nature. First Day of Spring is just one of seven examples of the types of pieces performed throughout the performance. This dance alone incorporated eight dancers, while the other pieces ranged from four to thirteen dancers. The music in the First Day of Spring was a genre of contemporary music, just like the dance style. It contained a guitar that played an Irish melody that almost sounded as it came from a Jewish-cultured celebration tune. The guitar played slow beats then increased in speed as the dancers used more and more energy. Just like the number of dancers that varied in this piece, the use of dance elements of characteristics was also varied. For instance, Ground Swell depended on dark scenery with only five dancers dressed in black clothing that shined with the lights. However, the technical training in each piece seemed to be about the same. Each performer was able to successfully execute their moods without struggle. There were times when one or two dancers either fell behind or went ahead of the other dancers when demonstrating certain pieces. On the other hand, their use of their body was perfect and each move was easily in tune with the mood of each performance.
Each choreographer manipulated certain dance elements in a unique way to highlight their sense of artistic style. For instance, John R. Stronks’ Dogs Don’t Eat Egg Rolls fashions each dancer’s body to something similar to a beating heart. For example, all thirteen dancers were aligned in three rows. As the tempo of the music began to play in beats similar to a heartbeat, the dancers began to bounce their bodies up and down. In unison, the dancers bent their hips to a low level, causing their knees to bend. As they took this position they began to bounce slowly up and down. Each dancer then extended their right arm in a rectangular manner up into the air. They then extended their left arm downward. Just as a ninja moves