21 April 2021 • Arts VIRTUAL VIEWS: Faculty Dance Concert 2021

Join the HWS Dance Department for a virtual concert that’s available now online.

Three professors of Dance Ensemble, Donna Davenport, Michelle Iklé and Kelly Johnson, spent the spring semester with 35 William Smith dancers and two media and society students in a pandemic, masked, indoors and outdoors, in snow, on Seneca Lake piers, with green screens, on the streets of Geneva, and on stage, in 12-foot squares in Deming Theater, to create six new, short films.

Watch the Concert here.

The following films are premiered:

  • Z for ZigZag, a screen dance performed by seven college dancers and directed by Davenport;
  • Dancing Through Chakras, a screen dance performed by 12 college dancers and directed by Iklé;
  • Under a Blue Sky, a solo film danced by Johnson;
  • The New American Project, a conceptual short film performed by nine college dancers and directed by Johnson;
  • Robbing Opera, a zany screen dance performed by seven college dancers and directed by Davenport; and
  • Just Stop.Take 2, a solo film danced by Davenport.

In addition to collaborations with students enrolled in Dance Ensemble, the choreographers’ visions came to life through the work of camera operators, rehearsal assistants, film editors and masters of special effects, including Instructor of Dance Zachary Frazee, Technology Support Specialist Matt Thomas, Special Effects Designer Dan Roach, and Lighting Designer and Technical Director Mark Wenderlich – to create this year’s VIRTUAL VIEWS.

The concert, which runs under an hour, presents a continuum from traditional screen dance to conceptual short film. Z for ZigZag, a playful screen dance, may remind viewers of the power of creative movement in education, as the dancers invent movement for a dance alphabet. Dancing the Chakras showcases soloists in rainbow colors of each healing Chakra, from red to purple, symbolizing energetic centers of the body, culminating in a Chakra painting created with 3D dynamic paint.

Under a Blue Sky by Johnson, filmed in the Thomas Melly ’52 Lobby of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts, is a unique solo performance motivated by oppositions of love and fear, darkness and lightness. The New American Project, a conceptual film by Johnson, was filmed entirely outdoors and edited by two media and society majors, Olympia Canales ’22 and De’John King ’22. The work depicts metaphors of community, solidarity and the power of storytelling to drive social activism, a process that the cast themselves embarked on.

The last two screen dances are directed by Davenport. Robbing Opera is farcical, as viewers witness a silly robber interrupting serious dancing. The concert ends with the shortest film: In Just Stop.Take 2, Davenport collaborates with choreographer and film maker, Zachary Frazee, to investigate the pulse of movement within an urban landscape.

This rich collection of screen dances and short films represents a welcomed investigation of movement on film by these three choreographers, driven by the realities of the recent pandemic.

Viewers are invited to access the concert link more than once, to come back and view again, a benefit of this virtual platform.