Spring Dance Concert 2023 Brings the Crowd to its Feet

By Rebecca Goldfine
This year's spring semester dance concert, presented by the Department of Theater and Dance, featured performances by students in the classes Introduction to Modern Dance, Modern II: Technique, and Introduction to Hip Hop.
dancer on stage with a video behind them
Gwyneth Jones' dance "woebegone," performed by students in Introduction to Modern Dance, included a video.

In collaboration with their students, dance faculty Gwyneth Jones, Aretha Aoki, and Lindsay Rapport choreographed original, colorful, explorative, and crowd-pleasing pieces for the end-of-semester performance.

Aoki, associate professor of dance, playfully incorporated into her Modern II dance, called "Enjoy the Performance," a remixed recording of the somber yet soothing tones of of Randy Nichols, Bowdoin's executive director of safety and security. Before every performance in Pickard Theater, a recording of Nichols in his low bass reminds the audience of safety protocols and emergency exits. Then he tells the theater to "enjoy the performance."

In the piece, Aoki's students explored "the presence of Africanist aesthetics within postmodern dance through elements such as a porous audience/performer divide, repetition, and improvisation and play."

Jones, senior lecturer in dance performance, choreographed the concert's multi-layered middle piece, titled "woebegone," which consisted of five distinct sections set to five songs: "Cry," by Rickie Lee Jones; "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," performed by the Quartet San Francisco; "Let the Teardrops Fall," performed by Patsy Cline; "Adagio in D minor," by Tomaso Albinoni; and "Someday I'll Smile Again," performed by the Smoking Pipes.

The students in Jones' introductory class moved through a range of motions and emotions, flowing through melancholy before ending on a sunnier note. At the end of the piece, a montage of close-up videos of the dancers' faces breaking into smiles played on a large screen on stage.

Rapport, visiting assistant professor of dance, got on stage before her hip hop students performed "Get Up, Get Funky," to encourage the audience to loudly vocalize their approval at any dance moves they enjoyed. By the end of their performance, the students were dancing in the aisles and most of the concert attendees were on their feet.

Photos by Alex Cornell du Houx ’06.