Thank You for Supporting An Evening of Dance

Two weeks ago, Orchesis Modern Dance Company finished their spring performance An Evening of Dance on Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall’s main stage. As I have written in my previous blog post, as president of Orchesis I choreographed the finale for the show for the entire company. In this post I hope to discuss tech week, working with the lighting designers, and my thoughts on the show.

First I will explain what “tech week” means for Orchesis. The Friday before the show’s opening weekend, we come into the stage space of Phi Beta Kappa Hall. Since this is the first day we are putting the works on the stage, we begin by spacing and finalizing pose positions of each work. Once the dancers are aware of their spatial surroundings and the choreographers are content with how the dancers are spaced on the stage, the work is then performed for final familiarization. Next, Saturday and Sunday is predominately used for the lighting designers to see the pieces on the stage and make final adjustments on their lighting designs. These two days also helps the stage manager become familiar with each pieces and learn when to call lighting cues. Finally, Monday through Wednesday of tech week we run the show as if they are performances. The company usually watches the finalized pieces for the first time on Monday. We also record the Tuesday and Wednesday runs of the show for archival and departmental purposes. These last few days are when choreographers, lighting designers, and stage managers make final adjustments. The transformation that occurs over the course of six evenings is simply amazing.

As I mentioned earlier, working with the lighting designers is one of the things that happens during tech week. However, a few weeks prior to going on the stage, we hold a “Lighting Showing” for our lighting designers. This allows us to show the designers what we have created thus far, and to talk to them about our ideas and concepts. Leading up to tech week, choreographers and their designer continue to discuss their ideas and share rehearsal videos. Once on the stage, choreographers finally see the lighting designers vision. For the show I got to work with both lighting designers, Jordan Leek and Meg Hamilton. Jordan worked on my solo, and we talked about three different lighting options. I ended up choosing a simple blue background for most of the piece and shifting colors to a warmer hue at the very end of the piece. Meg and I met about finale, and I talked to her about the importance of color to my piece. In finale, each emotion is represented by a color, red, pink, gray, and green representing anticipation, happiness, sadness, and fear respectively. Meg suggested highlighting the predominate emotion, while subtly changing the undertones of other emotions as they weave in and out of the scene. As someone with no knowledge on how stage lights work, I let Meg and Jordan to make my pieces, literally, light up. And I could not he happier with how they turned out.

Looking back on the show, I am very impressed with the quality of our performance. Compared to my first An Evening of Dance, the number of works, the variety in style, strength, and commitment of the dancers has grown exponentially. The Flat Hat reviewed the show, and we received various compliments for all of the works. As for Finale, Places We’ll Go, I am very happy with how the costumes turned out. The grant money I received, in addition to the $300 allotted to finale from the Theater, Speech, and Dance Department, helped me clothe 28 dancers with capris leggings and colored shirts. The only thing I would change would be my choice for the green and gray shirts. On stage, the two colors appeared too similar that I would have hoped for. However, overall I am still very pleased the outcome of the show.

Thank you for your supporting Orchesis and reading my post!