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Published on October 31, 2019

Eastern Presents 'Convergence' Dance Concert

"The Call: Kindness for Weakness"

"Conversion Therapy"

"Anikulapo Soul"

"Fire in the Sky"

"Conversion Therapy

"The Call: Kindness for Weakness"

Eastern Connecticut State University’s Theatre Program showcased “Convergence” on Oct. 24-27 in the Proscenium Theatre as the first in this year’s dance concert series. With four performances, “Convergence” was a dramatic presentation of the works of Eastern students, past and present artists who used their dance skills to pay homage to the influences that have moved them.

In the opening act titled “The Call: Kindness for Weakness,” viewers were entertained with dancers wearing brightly-colored costumes and reenacting a seminal ballet work titled “The Moor’s Pavane.” The piece was choregraphed by Mexican-born dancer José Limón and depicted William Shakespeare’s “Othello.” The dancer was divided into three parts and dispersed throughout the show and reflected the process of sifting artistic influences from the past.

The second act was titled “Maisha,” which means survival in the Bantu Language of Swahili. This act blended African Movements with inspiration from modern dance pioneers Ruth St. Denis and Martha Graham. The choreography consisted of grounded movements, sharp and controlled textures that went with the rhythm and flow of the music, as well as elongated and arabesque maneuvers.

Artistic director Alycia Bright Holland describes the deeper meaning of Convergence. “The act of convergence, like the properties of water, brings multiple ideas together into a cohesive unity.”

The idea of bringing multiple ideas together stems from the fact that different choreographers created each section of the program. Four different alumni took factors in their lives that have influenced them and turned them into choreographic contributions. These factors ranged from natural disasters and womanhood to conversion therapy and black art, as well as African music.

The choreographers were Alexis Tribble-Bryant ’15 & ’17, Shatima Cruz ’17, Charliece Salters ’18 and Sinque Tavares ’17, along with guest choreographer Charles Anderson. Anderson is head of the dance program at the University of Texas in Austin. Contributions also came from director Holland and current students from the Dance & World Performance concentration.

A major element of the performance were videos played on the back screen that depicted the type of dances that were in the next act. The videos combined performances from earlier times with those of the present-day taken in Eastern’s dance studio. The choreographers and a graduate student performed in some of the dances captured on screen.

The performance ended with a full ensemble celebration, with all the dancers coming to the front of that stage and demonstrating a gesture that correlated to each piece.

The Theatre program at Eastern offers many opportunities for students to work on-stage, backstage and front-of-house through classes, independent studies, internships and practicum work and on full-length major productions, one-acts, original plays and staged readings.

Written by Bobbi Brown