Dance Preview: ENCAPTURE from VCU Dance
Photos via Carlos Funn / Funn Foto
This week Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Dance and Choreography will present ENCAPTURE: A Senior Project Concert in Two Parts at Grace Street Theatre. The performance is the culminating event for the eleven VCU dance seniors who will be graduating in May.
I was lucky to get a sneak peek of the concert on Monday and was impressed at the creativity and diversity of these emerging dance artists.
Program A begins with Draconian, a dynamic all male piece by choreographer Charles Goodall. The dancers, showcasing both powerful athleticism and tender fluidity, dominate the space with each movement. Influenced by Aristotle’s fixation with the male body, Goodall perfectly captures the strength and sculpted beauty of the male form. Johnnie Mercer and DiaMonte Scoggins duet is particularly stunning.
Dystopia, inspired by David Ho’s painting My Darkest Hour, illustrates a fierce environment struggling for control. Adrianna Oden’s choreography is precise and unforgiving. The dancers bounce off the floor and each other with a mixture of franticness and ease that I found extremely captivating.
VCU Dance senior and Richmond Ballet trainee, Quincie Hydock, brilliantly danced Christian von Howard’s magnetic Smoke. Hydock’s capstone project requires that she perform a piece by a professional choreographer of her choice. When asked why she was drawn to von Howard’s work Hydock explained that “his aesthetic is raw, precise, supple, articulate.” While she admitted that “portraying all these qualities in a 7 minute solo can be challenging”, her flawless performance suggests she exceeded any expectations given.
Three additional pieces round out Program A. Nastasia Nelson’s Innocence Captured portrays the desire to possess innocence while with windows but no doors, choreographed by Maeve Talbot, embodies the effects of encephalitis lethargica. The concert concludes with Pace Short’s Frugal Fare, an energetic piece inspired by Pablo Picasso’s The Frugal Repast.
Hannah Weber’s Falls of Color opens Program B. You Can’t Get There From Here, a painting by Daniela Campins, is projected in small sections during the dance. The painting’s geography was the stimulation for this piece. The dancers, dressed in white, looked liked moving canvases sweeping the stage. Intricate gestures mimicked paint stokes and Michael Jarett’s stunning lighting design beautifully accentuated the colors of the painting. As the hues shifted, the dancers themselves became individual pieces of art.
Secrets of the Young, choreographed by Daniyah Menna had a political slant. Menna embraced issues of girls across the world. The sex trade, child soldiers, female mutilation, and body issues were all cleverly investigated through dance and text. Isolated movements, forceful grabbing of the body, and innovative partnering highlighted the physical and emotional commitment of this all female cast.
Additionally in Program B is Taylor Burrows’ juxtaposition of soft and harsh force in Homeostasis, Kimara Wood’s lively Caperia based Natural Selection, and Rachel Landrum’s entertaining When Tweetle Beetles Battle, a piece inspired by Dr, Seuss’ Fox in Socks.
Each show ends with a video depicting various scenarios; how to find the dance building, how to audition, how to take a ballet class, etc. While a majority of these are inside jokes, it was touching to see the support and love each dancer has for one another as their journey together ends.
After seeing their well-crafted pieces, inventive choreography, and stellar performances, I believe these talented seniors have a lot to celebrate.
ENCAPTURE runs April 24- 27. Program A will run Wednesday and Friday, April 24 & 26 at 8:00pm; Program B will run Thursday and Saturday, April 25 & 27 at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $15/$10 students with valid I.D. and are available now at Showclix or by calling 804-828-2020. All performances are at Grace St. Theatre, 934 West Grace Street, Richmond, VA.
Rebecca A. Ferrell, a native of Richmond, Virginia, is a dance educator, choreographer and performer. She is currently the artistic director of FDANCE, a project dedicated to her work as an intervention dance artist. Rebecca holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University as well as a MFA in Dance from Arizona State University. She is currently adjunct faculty at VCU Dance and is in charge of dance curriculum at John Tyler Community College. When she is not dancing, Rebecca is making cupcakes, breaking hearts, and obsessing over the color pink.
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