Activist women take center stage in dance troupe’s passionate performance

Rochester-based dance company FuturPointe Dance brought an energetic and powerful “visual feast” of contemporary dance to the MacVittie College Union Ballroom in their “Red, Green & Gold” performance on Saturday April 23. Before their performance, the director of the company held a small workshop, which allowed students the opportunity to learn contemporary dance moves and to discuss the creative process involved in dance.

FuturPointe has recently become an all-women company, and they have been exploring and discussing the question of what it means to be a woman, as well as examining the various injustices that contemporary women face. The “Red, Green & Gold” performance strongly displayed this support for the feminist cause.

The show opened with Nina Simone’s “Four Women.” The dancers moved in the crowd, making use of small red lights, which appeared to be thrown amongst them. The dancers had certain sets of choreographed music, but would improvise around them. This would be a unifying factor in each dance of the night.

At this point, the show took an energetic turn with Missy Elliott’s “Pep Rally.” This number’s choreography emphasized the flexibility and strength of the dancers as they balanced, jumped and stretched their bodies, using dance to make a statement about contemporary society.

The third dance—and perhaps the most striking one—made their feminist statement much clearer and more powerful. The tempo slowed down for this dance and the music was replaced with a compilation of inspirational speeches. The voices that filled the ballroom were those of strong women who continue to use their positions in the public eye to incite change in society: Oprah Winfrey, Malala Yousafzai, J.K. Rowling, Emma Watson and Toni Morrison, to name a few. These speeches touched upon topics of feminism, failure, inspiration and creativity.

Samples of Rowling’s 2008 Harvard Commencement address, Winfrey’s 2013 Harvard Commencement address and Watson’s United Nations speech that launched her HeForShe campaign were included in the number. These excerpts urged the audience to not be discouraged by failure. Instead, they need to persevere and commit themselves to causes that they feel strongly for. FuturPointe addressed the dire need for gender equality and encouraged audiences to devote their lives to their passion—whatever that may be—as that’s where you’ll find true success.

This was followed by Devotchka’s “How It Ends,” which included excerpts of Hillary Clinton’s 1995 speech given at the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women Plenary Session in Beijing. Her statement that “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all” drives home FuturPointe’s overall message of equality and independence.

The performance, however, did not feature exclusively women. One number featured two dancers reciting George Carlin’s poem, “I’m a Modern Man.” The reading of the poem—combined with the women’s performances—points out the juxtaposition between being a modern man and being a modern woman.

Throughout the entire performance, FuturPointe explored topics that are at the forefront of the social activists’ minds. FuturPointe proved that dancing tells a story, illustrating to the audience just how to tell these stories through movement. FuturPointe also shared with us one of the company’s mottos: “If you point towards the future it will point right back.”

This performance came at a good time, as students are beginning to prepare for the final weeks of the semester. It reminds us students to immerse ourselves in our passions, to value our education and to fight for what we believe in.