CoDa mixes modern, classic in final performance of semester

The College’s Contemporary Dance Ensemble (CoDa) pulled out all the stops for its final show of the year. Featuring music from the likes of Gotye and Adele, excellent student choreography and even a rain machine, this show had about all one could hope for in a modern dance performance. The dancers and choreographers of CoDa gave an intellectually stimulating performance that managed to stay relatable and thoroughly enjoyable to lovers of dance and first time viewers alike. Performing five pieces in total, including the famed “Rite of Spring” in its entirety, CoDa addressed themes of confrontation, materialism, birth, death and ritual. It was a fitting conclusion to the wonderful work CoDa has done this year and the perfect send off to the seniors who have contributed so much to CoDa throughout their time at the College.

The first piece of the night was “Confrontation,” choreographed by Madison Weist ’15. Set to the jazzy tune of “Cool,” from West Side Story, this number featured Cecilia Denhard ’15, Gabrielle DiBenedetto ’16, Claire Lidston ’15 and Weist. The vivid contrast of the red and black dresses worn by the performers helped highlight the conflict present in the piece. It was an exciting and expertly choreographed performance.

The second piece, “Cut Me Off,” choreographed by the talented Issac Johnson ’16, was an audience favorite. It featured the entirety of CoDa dressed in black, dancing to contemporary hits by Ellie Goulding, Gotye, the Eagles and Adele. Having familiar music added a great deal to the dance’s accessibility, making it all the more enjoyable for the audience members. This dance featured a lot of precise, jerky movements, which added to the intended theme of bitterness after a breakup.

There was then a brief interlude from dancing with the performance of “Aurora,” a composition for two pianos. Performed by Doris Stevenson, Lyell B. Clay artist in residence, and Elizabeth Wright, artist associate in piano, it was the world premiere of a piece composed by Illeana Perez Valzquez. It was a pleasantly discordant piece with unorthodox rhythms and audience memebers were lucky to be able to attend a world premiere.

Returning to dance, the third piece was titled “Time is Money.” It featured CoDa Teaching Assistant Jennifer Law ’13 in a solo performance. Accompanied by a reading of a Sol Funaroff poem that repeats, “Tic-toc, time is money,” the dance broached themes of materialism and the effect of time. It also mimicked the clock through Law’s movements. Law’s ability to capture the audience with a solo performance was truly impressive, as was her ability to accurately portray rather complex themes through movement.

The final piece before intermission was another standout performance. “Deadweight,” choreographed by Amanda Washington ’14 was the best melding of music and dance of the night. Set to the song “Bad Wings,” by Electro sensation Glitch Mob, the number included Sierra McDonald ’16, Theodora Gruseke ’16,  Kimberly Liu ’13 and DiBenedetto. Hard-hitting dance steps perfectly matched with the thumping bass that is a signature of Glitch Mob, making for a thrilling performance. In this piece, it was impressive how the dancers and choreographer expertly used a lack of movement at times to highlight the dancer who was intended to be the focal point. With the amount of action often happening on stage, it was nice to be able to identify a single focus and really appreciate the movements of one person.

After a brief intermission, it was time for the performance of renowned “Rite of Spring,” choreographed by the artistic directors of CoDa and Liu. It was a rich performance, which showed all that props can add to a dance performance. It started with all the dancers except one lying curled under a massive white blanket. It then transitioned to a slide show of childhood photographs of CoDa members, before ending with water falling from the ceiling, while the CoDa members danced through the spigot. It was very entertaining and was a nice conclusion to the show. Overall, it was an excellent final performance.

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