The dance concert “Forever in a Second: New and Renewed Dances by Kristen Daley” was performed on Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon in Ives 119. The show was a good length, giving audiences a full evening of interest and enjoyment. Each piece featured very precise and liberated movement, while brief pauses between numbers allowed the audience to feel relaxed. Only five dances were performed, making each very focused and meaningful.
“It was a humbling and thought provoking experience relevant to current events and a wake up call to all those watching and participating in it,” said dancer Anjelica Martinez.
The performance as a whole married simplicity with complexity. The style of dance throughout was modern and expressive and was executed in a seemingly effortless manner. The costumes were very simple, a bit casual, and reflected modern everyday life. The set design was simply a quiet black curtain that met the dark floors and made the dancers stand out into the spotlight.
Kristen Daley has been a part of Sonoma State University’s dance faculty since 2003 and is currently a professor of dance. She inspired and choreographed each dance in collaboration with the performers and danced in two as well. One of these dances, “Donna Anna Study” was first created in 2003, and featured only three dancers, the catch was only Daley danced. Robust opera music played and Daley flew across the stage emoting dramatic movements and a few moves, a bit silly, that conjured up a chuckle from the audience. All while her partner, Jared Wiltse, did absolutely nothing but stay out of her way and the other dancer Jenna Valez only entered the number to assist Daley in a move. This pieced expressed empowerment and individuality.
The music throughout was fairly simple and carefully balanced under the dancers, not distracting or overpowering. A few of the dances were scored with simple electronic beats, while others were more quiet, relying solely on voice and breath. Breath was actually used very distinctively throughout the show providing emphasis, in a sense, to movement.
The use of voice stood out in the number “I Can See Everything From Here,” a 2016 conception that featured original music composed and performed by Jesse Olsen Bay, along with Donna Denevan-Lynch, and Kaya Martischius. The singers subtly separated from the rest of the dancers and provided the musical accompaniment surrounding a single microphone. The rest of the dance was supported with these stunning and instrumental voices. The dancers as well spoke in this number, “I Can See Everything From Here” was said in all different ways, tones and volumes, from various places on the stage. This was theatrical and exposed the authenticity and imaginative style of Daley and the dancers.
Jesse Olsen Bay’s original music was used in every dance aside from “Donna Anna Study” which used Mozart’s Don Giovanni. In the premiere piece “The words we have forgotten,” Bay’s music was hectic and suspenseful, bringing in sounds that represent the chaos of life.
The finale “Interface,” Daley began working on in 2012. The number was the highest energy of the night. Voices carried over the music speech written by Peter-Peringer Battan that asked various thought provoking questions regarding technology, communication and social media.
“If you can read the minds of others what is the need for speech?” one asked.
The dancing demonstrated movements that reflected the questions and gestured to one another and the audience. The elements in this number, the music, the speech and the dancers paired together and worked towards a common goal.
The dance expressed the significance of human connection and interaction in a world flooding with technological advancement that threatens to disconnect us from the beauty of life itself.