‘Uncensored’ choreography presented by Dance majors


Mark Santillano photo

From left to right, top row: Grace Petron, Dominic Fortunato, Sarah Swanson, Lucas De Marinis, Megan Lay, Hunter Hoffman and Carrie VanOsten. Bottom row: Rachel Rhodanz, Niusha Karkehabadi, Sarah Taylor, Katherine Hotinger and Marcela Gomez Lugo

Jenny Sabliov, Arts and Entertainment editor

On Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., the Choreography II students of the Mercyhurst Dance department will present their final projects in Taylor Little Theatre for the very first time on stage.
Every aspect of the show will be done by the members of the course.
The performance will be under the direction of Solveig Santillano, associate professor of Dance.
According to a news release, there will be a variety of powerful themes present throughout the show, ranging from “the psychological toll cancer takes on loved ones, to the power in liturgical dance, to the pecking order present in a brood of chickens.”
A variety of choreographic styles such as tap, musical theatre and contemporary ballet will also be showcased throughout the repertory.
All of the choreographers working on this performance are junior Dance B.F.A. majors.
They are: Lucas De Marinis, Dominic Fortunato, Hunter Hoffman, Katherine Hotinger, Niusha Karkehabadi, Megan Lay, Marcela Gomez Lugo, Grace Petron, Rachel Rhodanz, Sarah Swanson, Sarah Taylor and Carrie VanOsten.
Karkehabadi will be presenting her piece, entitled “All the Little Things that Kill Us So We Can Live.”
It explores the fears and dreams of the individual dancers and the relationship between them.
This ranges from the process that takes place in hiding their fears to their dreams and how it is a part of their daily lives to how it transforms them into who they are.
Karkehabadi encouraged her dancers to explore these because the piece itself focuses on the individual and how they process these emotions through their daily lives.
“Half the dancers start running with their eyes closed, and the piece ends with all the dancers improvising with their eyes closed as to mask out pre-judgments we make and forcing the trust of intuition to take place,” said Karkehabadi.
Hoffman is choreographing a piece called “Centrifuge” that consists of four females and one male. It is about gravity and momentum.
VanOsten is choreographing a piece entitled “Romans 5:3-5.”
“It is about the strength and power present in religion, and how it can be expressed through movement, as opposed to the lighter, flowier ‘pretty’ ways that it is usually portrayed in dance,” said VanOsten.
Lugo’s piece is titled “Pariah.”
“This piece is about the individual moments of chaos,” said Lugo. Her inspiration comes from the current political, cultural and social atmosphere.
She draws on the meaning of pariah for the piece because it means to be an outcast or someone who is despised or rejected.
Lay’s inspiration is drawn from the music that she chose because she wanted to choreograph to a more upbeat tempo while interpreting a subject that would force the audience to think. The music she has chosen is “La Poule,” which translates to “The Hen” in French.
“I chose to make my piece about the pecking order present in a brood of chickens,” said Lay.
Lay’s style of choreography tends to be on the jazzier side with a heavy contemporary ballet influence.
“The choreography I have set on the dancers so far has turned out a lot quicker than what I have produced in the past, but luckily my entire cast of dancers are behind me all the way,” said Lay.
Lay is also performing in Rhodanz and Taylor’s individual pieces.
Rhodanz’s piece is a rhythm-centered tap piece, which Lay loves to learn and perform in.
Taylor’s piece is focusing on making the audience uncomfortable and is based on a painting by Kandinsky.
“As artists, we are encouraged to push the boundaries of the perception of movement.
This goes for both the audience and the performers themselves,” said Lay.
Lay notes that through her experience, both as a dancer and a choreographer, she can see why this performance is going to be titled “Uncensored.”
This performance is free and open to the public.