Last Friday and Saturday, Salt Lake Community College’s Dance Company told 17 different stories through dance in less than two hours.
At the South City Campus’ Grand Theatre, students, family members, friends and community members came to watch. With colorful costumes, that were never gaudy and matching back drops on stage, each dance had something new to offer.
There was a wide variety of dance styles to tell a variety to different stories, broken into sections.
Music Box was choreographed by Heather Stam, one of the featured company dancers and set to Boston by Augustana. Seven of the female dancers glided and pirouetted on stage dressed in big, red and maroon chiffon tutus, like the iconic ballerina in a music box, starting with only the piano. The story told was of the little girl growing up with the music box, having ideals of femininity socialized early on, and then facing the reality of growing up.
The next story was Struggle for Hope, choreographed by its featured dancers, Kourtney Casper, Jessica Gledhill, Erica Skillings and Carolina Sullivan. It communicated the anguish people feel when dealing with loved ones who are ill or sick or dying. One of the dancers came out and tied a pink bandana to cover her hair, symbolizing a struggle with chemo. Along with the beautiful, haunting piano accompaniment of River Flows in You by Yiruma, there was also recorded dialogue like testimony from the victim, the mother and the best friend confessing their fears, but vowing never to give up hope.
In Outcast, the hip-hop piece was very impressive. The movements looked angry and full of energy. This piece told of a person’s need to fit in, desiring to be herself in a circle of people who actually allow it.
In Heartbreak, choreographed and danced by Michael Hettich, it is obvious guys can have their hearts broken, too. Starting off with the stage pitch black, Hettich sat in a single, wooden chair, completely alone on stage with one, solitary spotlight pinned on him. The dance combined acrobatic leaps with more contemporary styles that really depicted someone in pain as he fought with his own feelings. The emotions were raw and real while he danced on stage. In the final moments, there’s a gunshot and he jerks back to lie sprawled in his chair. The audience was silent for a few moments before applauding his moving performance.
The final stories were Orixas and Yearning. Garbed in long, cloth skirts and wraps, even coming out with baskets of fruit, the dancers captured the feel of the Afro-Brazilian Orixa dance movements and style. Yearning was inspired by images of slavery and abolitionist Frederick Douglas and aimed to reflect the human desire to reconnect with the homeland. With live drummers Kaz Spiers and Golden Gibson, the final dance ended with energy and exhilaration.
Overall, it was a very pleasing performance and a great way to spend the night. Especially since students got in for free, and others, with two imperishable canned goods, could get in for half price. Once again, SLCC shows how much it has to offer the community through its dedication and hard work. Director Tess Boone has a lot to be proud of. Unfortunately, not too many people showed up opening night. Judging by the number of bouquets among guests, most were there to support loved ones and relatives. The Grand Theatre and SLCC have countless opportunities for students and community members to get a taste of the arts and high quality entertainment at very affordable prices. To see what other events are offered, visit www.the-grand.org.