Fall Dance Concert mixes modern and contemporary styles

COURTESY // David Papas

Dance has been often looked at as an art form where storytelling can run rampant, where movement is the expression of one’s personality, of one’s soul. That’s what the emphasis of this years Fall Dance Concert was all about. The pieces were meant to be emotional, meant to have the audience be emotionally invested in the dancers, hence the subtitle of “Heart & Soul.” The choreographers and dancers slaved over their pieces with the hopes of connecting with the audience.

Artistic director Christine Cali said, “During the last eight weeks, the choreographers and dancers, met multiple times to show each other’s work and give feedback. I did this as a mentor, but as a peer as well.” 

Unfortunately, not all dances were up to par in the show. Cali wanted their pieces to be an extension of who the choreographers were and how they felt. 

One of the highlights of the show, Krystal Castillo’s “Fortitude,” was a piece that was all its own. A mix of modern and contemporary, the dance was a representation of empowerment, of taking risks despite the expectations of society. Backed by “Place Like This” by Majid Jordan, the dance was filled with extensions and higher elevated movement. Towards the last arc of the dance, dancers used a blue and pink dust to add the drama of the piece. Castillo was particularly nervous and excited for the show.

“I was highly anxious for the show because this was my first piece. I was worried cause my style is way different than what people are used to,” said Castillo. “It was very interesting to put my movement in my dancers and see that come alive on stage.”

Ellie Scharf’s “Submerged” was a very interesting piece, backed up by a memorable performance by Castillo. Movement was sporadic and had strong floor work, the piece captured the feeling of drowning in one’s traumatic experiences. The instrumental was haunting, as the sound of harsh rain filled parts of the dance. Scharf was moved to create this piece due to some of the hardships she had faced. 

“I not only wanted this piece to explore the thoughts, feelings and emotions that I felt during that time, but I also wanted my dancers to feel it,” said Scharf. “We created a piece that was raw and real, I wanted my dance to be a sort of therapy.”

The highlight of the show however was Christina Kitchen’s jazz piece, “New York.” The dance was fun and was the most lighthearted piece of the show. Kitchen’s piece was very reminiscent of Bob Fosse’s jazz and it involved a lot of the use of arches and shoulder work. The lighting was fantastic, especially when the white background kicked in and the dancers looked like silhouettes. It was one of those pieces where one couldn’t help but cheer. It was filled with sass and attitude, it was the proper way to end the show. 

COURTESY // David Papas

The pieces this year were mostly a mix of modern and contemporary, with the exception of Kitchen’s Jazz. The biggest let down of this years concert was the lack of more diversity in the dance styles. It would’ve been great to see some hip-hop, a leading staple in today’s dance world, or even some more jazz. That being said, the show was enjoyable and showcased some of the talent that Sonoma State University has to offer.