As president of Orchesis, one of my responsibilities is to create original choreography for the finale of our spring performance, An Evening of Dance. Orchesis is a student led, Dance department affiliated modern dance program on campus. Last spring performance, as an upper classman, I choreographed a six-minute piece for five dancers, where I explored the juxtaposition between western perceived Asian femininity with my interpretations of Asian pride and strength. One of my goals for finale is that I will continue exploring my personal movement aesthetic and create a larger and longer work to present to the community that incorporates the entire company.
The concept of my choreography for this year is the exploration of life in the years following graduation through shifting emotional relationships. The company is separated into four different groups. Each group represents a different emotion: happiness, sadness, anticipation, and fear. I chose these emotions because I feel that they are presented in each stage of life, but are manifested differently depending on internal and external influences.
The narrative for this piece begins with the seniors of the company and our emotional representation of graduation. The rest of the company later joins because graduation is a time where sadness, fear, happiness, and anticipation towards the future are all intertwined. In the stage after graduation, fear is the main theme being represented. Happiness is the next theme, because I believe that as we become comfortable with ourselves, we begin to build relationships and find inner happiness. Then comes the stage of family and looking forward to the future, which is represented with the emotional group anticipation. Life cannot be without some sadness, either personally or to those close around us. Lastly, the entire company emerges back on stage, to represent that life is about embracing our emotions. Throughout these stages of life other emotion groups interact with the main emotional theme, because we are not static beings but continuously shifting through different emotions.
The grant money I received from the Charles Center has gone to costuming for this piece. As I stated earlier, I divided the company into four emotion-based groups. Each group contains seven company members, myself included. With the grant I ordered black cotton leggings and a long t-shirt in four different colors. Each color represents an emotion group, terracotta is happiness; gray is sadness; khaki is fear; and plum is anticipation. The colors will help the audience differentiate between the emotion-based groups. Since these shirts are created for typical everyday wear, they will create a pedestrian silhouette over the dancers. However, I cut slits in the seams of the shirts to will allow them to flow with the dancer’s movements.
We will perform in Phi Beta Kappa Hall March 23rd through the 25th at 7:30 PM, and 2 PM on the 26th. There will be ten other works choreographed and performed by members of Orchesis. We started working on this show since last semester, and if you are interested please check out our Facebook page and the William and Mary webpage for any additional information.