Orchesis dance troupe unravels 'COIL' at Weber State

Orchesis dance troupe unravels 'COIL' at Weber State

Story by Amy K. Stewart , Standard-Examiner correspondent - Apr 4 2012 - 12:27am
"COIL" will be performed April 5-7 at Weber State University.

A performance that portrays a diversity of subjects -- including political debate and idleness -- through artistic dance and song will be presented by Weber State University's department of performing arts.

"COIL," Orchesis Dance Theatre's spring concert, runs Thursday through Saturday in the Browning Center on the WSU campus.

The production is directed by Erik Stern and features the choreography of a Weber State dance alumna, a current student and three faculty members.

"It was interesting in that we started working on the movement and we didn't know what the music would be," Stern said. "The music and dancing is exceptional, but also the shared spirit -- all these people working together -- is one of the aspects that makes it fun, exciting and interesting."

Stern has toured throughout North America as well as Europe as a professional choreographer, dancer and educator. In addition to being on the faculty at Weber State, he is a teaching artist with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, conducting workshops throughout the United States.

"COIL," which features a 2-inch-thick cord as a prop, is a collaboration between Stern and Mark Henderson, a Weber State music professor who directs the choirs. The production also features the Weber State Chamber Choir and the 15 dancers of Moving Company, the dance department's outreach program.

"It's unique in that we have live musical performers onstage with the dancers. That is not very common -- and especially to the degree that they have collaborated," Henderson said. "Every moment of it has some singing going on. There are also moments when there is no music, but there is voice, and vocal sounds."

The performance is connected with a theme from the Elizabethan-era poet John Donne, who wrote, "No man is an island, entire of itself." The performance explores this statement, asking how well a person is connected to society and the world, and provides a visual metaphor -- the COIL.

Weber State dancer Alicia Trump choreographed a segment in the production called "Disputations," exploring verbal conflict such as political debates.

"I find it to be bothersome to listen to two people express their opinions on the subject matter, and they don't agree and they just keep battling it out and no one wins the argument," Trump said. "It's fun to listen to the rhythms of the way people talk, though. One person will try to talk over the other person and they will try to talk louder."

Trump said she is looking forward to seeing the entire performance come together. "I'm excited to see it with the costumes, the lights, the sound -- everything all onstage as a whole," she said. "That is the most rewarding part of choreographing a dance, is seeing all the elements come together."

Ben Lomond High School dance teacher Tawna Halbert's piece, "Idle Spin Go," was inspired by the question, "What is the relevance of rigor?"

"The piece itself inhabits the concept of progress, the balance between complete idleness, moving forward, and 'spinning one's wheels,' " said the WSU graduate. "It features large fans. A septet of dancers explore, resisting the force and surfing the wind the fans generate to create fluid and dynamic motion."

Also on the bill:

  • "Belief," dance professor Joanne Lawrence's piece exploring courage, love and friendship, and other ideas the dancers believe in.

  • "When the Circus Comes to Town," adjunct faculty member Elizabeth Stich's piece on the peculiar nature of the circus.

  • WHAT: ‘COIL,’ Orchesis Dance Theatre’s spring concert
  • WHO: Weber State University department of performing arts
  • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5; Friday, April 6; and April 7
  • WHERE: Allred Theater, Browning Center, Weber State University campus, 3848 Harrison Blvd., Ogden
  • TICKETS: $11 and $8, available at the Dee Events Center ticket office, 1-800-WSU-TIKS, weberstatetickets.com or at the Browning box office one hour before performance

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