Dancers prepared to spark emotion


— Concluding the high school/college students' fifth week at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, Linda Kent and her professional group of choreographers have collaborated to create an Evening of Dance.

Although the seven productions collectively don't have a theme, each one is a small interpretation of the choreographer's personal experiences, thoughts or emotions.

Linda Kent, director of the Evening of Dance, said she is thrilled to see how well the students have adjusted to jumping around from last week's "Rhinoceros" performance to this week's "Evening of Dance" then next week's "Carousel."

"The dancers are having a great time. There's 22 dancers in the whole production and seven separate pieces," Kent said. "They're getting a lot and (getting) stretched out of their normal routine."

Some dancers have doubled and tripled up in productions, while still attending classes such as dance composition and choreography.

Lisa Hopkins, choreographer of her piece "Too Darn Hot," said all groups just began their technical rehearsals Monday.

"We haven't even seen each others' work," Hopkins said.

Kent has commissioned choreographers from Julliard and other New York dance and theater entities to join her in heading the dance department at Perry-Mansfield this summer.

Each choreographer under Kent's direction has produced his or her own pieces; however, Kent said she commissioned two pieces from David Parsons because she couldn't possibly to it all her first year here.

"David and I have danced together. I've known him for a very long time," Kent said. "This is a wonderfully exuberant piece."

Kent was referring to "Parsons Etude," which is a short study of small pieces to create a whole.

"It's very physical and demanding, especially for you to sustain as a dancer," Kent said. "I'm very thrilled with how they've responded."

Kent's second piece, which she received permission to reproduce, is "Sleep Study."

Kent said this was a piece everyone can relate to because it personifies everyone's sleeping habits and behavior.

"It's done so cleverly. The choreography is so precise. The spacing is essential," Kent said of keeping the same technique every time it's produced.

Whether the dancers are experiencing a nightmare, trying to find their comfortable spot or that jerking motion after just falling into a light sleep, the piece is representative of how the world falls asleep.

In no particular order, choreographer Kristofer Storey has created his own piece and asked professional musicians to compose a piece for "Adventures on the D."

"It has a dual meaning. It means the D train, a subway line in New York, or adventures on the diagonal," Kent said of the shape the dancers take on stage. "Our ad reads edgy, New York, hip-hop modern dance."

Storey asked Ken Pierson, a Julliard composer, and Jacek Sobieraj, a professional musician, to bring out the ambient atmosphere that one may find on the D train in New York.

Storey, and young and upcoming choreographer Jessica Lang, have left camp but have not left behind their direction and talent of young dancers.

Lang's piece, "In Here, I am Safe," depicts a relationship going through the turbulences and peaks.

"It has become more universal, but it's about loss and the community and has abstracted that emotion," choreographer Stephen Pier said of Lang's piece.

Pier and Hopkins said they've made world premieres at Perry-Mansfield.

"Songs of Enchantment" creates a mountainous, highland aura perfect for Steamboat Springs.

"It's old Scottish ballads. I was inspired to use that music here because of the highland setting," Pier said. "It's a form of square dancing."

The interaction contradicts the daily, mundane routine of life with the calling that lives in each of us.

"It's the mundane and this thing from beyond. Sometimes we listen to it, sometimes we listen to it and go back to our normal lives, sometimes we actually do it," Pier said.

Pier said the mountains give him inspiration as an artist to continue in his calling. The "compelling, mystical, luring song" represents his feeling every time he reaches 6,000 feet above sea level.

Hopkins' world-renowned piece "Too Darn Hot" comes from the musical "Kiss Me Kate" that presents theater jazz dance with a large number of dancers.

"I try not to make expectations and let the process take its course," Hopkins said who ran off to teach a class.

And last, but certainly not least, Dalienne Majors' composition students have set out creating art that lies in its own realm.

With the idea of Elizabeth Keen, a composition teacher from Julliard that has left Perry-Mansfield, students studied four Kandinsky paintings and created a dance using the images he used in the paintings.

If lines are presented in his paintings, then the students may have chosen to choreograph themselves into lines, or perhaps it is circles or waves.

"They're creating ways to unlock the movement" in the paintings," Majors said.

"They're working on lines and designs."


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