Apr 02, 2020

Lights, camera… dance

The Portable Dance Troupe starts a dance for their ‘Dances on the Edge’ show that is ending this week. The dancers in the ensemble are, from left to right: Jacob Carillo, Courtney Perry, Chris Buebscle and Lindsay Theis.
Seth Wood / The Collegian

Friday night was the first showing of the Portable Dance Troupe (PDT) performance of Dances on the Edge, a presentation reflecting the current social and political situation in our country.

Everything has meaning in the abstract performance. The dancers were frequently barefoot and wore street clothes. The colors and the style of the outfits were visual aids to the symbolism of the dance.

Born in 1960s New York City, postmodern dance incorporates the use of ballet and classical modern techniques. Instead of traditional ballet with slides, intricate footwork and men holding women in the air, there are more straightforward moves such as running, some leaps with more basic footwork and more repetition.

“It’s different than watching television where the meaning is pre-digested and delivered to you. The audience continues the imagination of the work,” artistic director Ruth Griffin said.

Kenneth Balint and Nicole Askren perform their piece. The two are a part of the student ensemble, the Portable Dance Troupe. The troupe’s concert, ‘Dances on the Edge,’ which will be running through Feb. 16. in the  John Wright Theatre and will be showcasing numbers by students enrolled in the troupe’s class.
Seth Wood / The Collegian

The dance troupe is a class that is available for open enrollment, although every student must audition to be considered for a part in the show.

Senior Jacob Carrillo has learned a lot with the PDT, and encourages anyone to try the class.

“Modern training is becoming incorporated more in theatrical dances. It is more cost-effective than private lessons by taking a class here and get the full experience of putting on a student-run show,” Carrillo said.

The experience gained while dancing for PDT has contributed to several students’ success as they’ve gotten an opportunity to perform in front of an audience.

Griffin has seen many students go on to become professional dancers after being involved in the PDT .

“With this course, I want to incorporate an open idea for a modern art form where the audience is the sole collaborator in the meaning of the work,” Griffin said.

The shows gain more popularity by word of mouth, especially after the opening night. There has been continued support by students, faculty and members of the community. Mary Anna and John Dunn are donors to the University Theatre, as well as loyal season ticket holders. The first show they saw was Intimate Apparel in the fall of 2006.

“We moved here four years ago and have been impressed with every show we’ve seen,” Dunn said, “The shows involve classical as well as controversial themes, which is what these student performances should do.”

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