GDE’s narrative choreography expresses student creativity

The human body is an unassuming instrument with an ability to contort, support and retract itself in ways that we may overlook. With much abundance in limbs and wide varieties in movement, the Geneseo Dance Ensemble presented its annual “47Live: Visual Dynamics” performance. The show included eight total pieces choreographed by senior student artists, some of whom were also student directors. All were under the direction of professor of dance, artistic director, curator and producer Jonette Lancos with the associate direction of assistant professor of dance studies Mark Broomfield.

Each student dancer had a different story behind the motivation for each dance, varying from personal references, historical interests and much more. The dances ranged in fluidity and pace in accordance to the equally dynamic and student designed use of sound, lighting and costume also student-designed.

Some of the earlier pieces included “Letters of Heroines,” an intergalactic-like piece with an emphasis on gravity and its heavy weight. Choreographed by senior Justine Lazatin, the dance seemed to encompass a theme of motion with exaggerated choreography packed with action, slow motion and mirrored movements.

“[The dance] is centered around the idiom of taking one step forward and two steps back,” Lazatin explained. “I wanted to explore this in a physical sense … something is constantly pulling them back. In an emotional sense, it’s such a common thing to feel like you’re making progress but something keeps pulling you backwards.”

Directed by senior Lisa Cadara, the lively “La Belle Époque,” is reminiscent of the 1920s and is sure to remind audiences of the extravagant and jazz-filled era of the The Great Gatsby.

“I found the music first, and that kind of dictated the movement from there,” Cadara said. “I’m a French major so that’s where the inspiration and the love for France came from.” The first part of the piece is Paris during the day, so the music and dance movements are at a slower pace. The second half suddenly transforms into a jazzy, fast paced—almost seductive—setting. The flapper-esque dancers made the rapid dance moves look impressively challenging.

According to Cadara, the dancers each have a specific identity and character from history they are supposed to portray, including CoCo Channel, Josephine Baker and Getrude Stein. “I did a lot of research that was supposed to match with the time period, like the Charleston and Lindy Hop,” Cadara said.

In contrast, senior Lindsay Rathbun’s “Non Obstante” began with fast, sharp movements and a beating drum up against dim red lighting, developing into a steadier and lighter dance. In this piece, the dancers resembled fighters who display some sort of despair through their body language toward the end.

“My motivation was that being a warrior doesn’t always mean being strong. It’s actually about knowing that it’s okay to be vulnerable and break down every once in a while,” Rathbun said. “I actually lost a loved one to cancer, and so I decided to make a piece about that and how you’re still a warrior even if you’re not the strongest person in the room.”

“47Live: Visual Dynamics” shared a dynamism in all senses in the body, and aside from motivations, the movements are up for individual interpretation.

The show runs from Thursday Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. to Sunday Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Alice Austin Theatre. Tickets are $10 and available at the Student Association Ticket Office.