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Dancevent Marked the Return of Live Dance Performance

Dancevent 2021 Shifted to Studio Setting for Intimate Return to Live Dance

A favorite fall production shifted to a studio setting for the 2021 performance. Dancevent, a longstanding tradition for the William & Mary Dance Department, traded the Kimball Theatre mainstage for a more intimate setting in Adair Studio for their performances Oct. 29-31, 2021.

Orchesis member Tiana James said that she was excited for the new dynamic the space holds, which allowed dancers to explore their connection with audiences and the unique energy that came from a small performance space. 

“So, it [was] so inspiring to see what mental tools that myself and the company use to relate to the studio space in the context of performance instead of class and rehearsal,” James said. “It is also very unique to have such an intimate and eye-level relationship with our audience. Normally, we are elevated approximately four feet and cannot make direct eye contact with the people viewing our work.” 

Dancevent also featured a multimedia approach to the performance, including 2 digital pieces and two live performances mixed with digital media.

“Developing this performance has been a chance for Leah Glenn and me to experiment with new ideas,” said Joan Gavaler, Director of Dance and Choreographer for Dancevent. “We don’t usually have the time to experiment with mixed media, but working in the studio as our performance space has given us this opportunity.”

One of these pieces featured new work from W&M Theatre alum S. Lewis Feemster. The live/digital hybrid piece, ConFront(ed): Pause. Fast Forward. Slow Down. Go Back., is an exploration of the images created digitally, bringing them into physical relationships in the performing space. Feemster returned to campus to collaborate directly with the students to build the piece anew for Dancevent 2021. 

The concert was the culmination of the first live work in the Dance Department since the Fall 2019 semester. 

“We are all so excited to be back with live teaching in classes. Last year, we had to stand in 5x5 foot boxes during classes and could not physically interact in choreography,” said James. “I missed being able to do lifts, move through the space, and begin to regain the sense of community that has kept me dancing for so many years.”

The program has continued to stand on the cutting edge of art and works to keep the focus on original student art. 

Galaver says the Dance minor extends beyond the stages of W&M. 

“Teaching dance in a liberal arts environment means that students learn the skills needed for communicating through this art form, and they draw the content of what they want to communicate from all their experiences at W&M and beyond.”

Orchesis Modern Dance will continue to create new art in the Spring Semester with An Evening of Dance, performing live at the Kimball Theatre, March 31-April 3, 2022. Students interested in taking a dance class can visit wm.edu/dance for more information.