Since early February, students, choreographers and faculty have gathered six nights a week in Dillingham Center to practice for this year’s dance concert, “Dance: No Translation Needed.”
The dance show, which is only performed once every four years, will feature jazz, ballet, tap and modern dances.
There are a total of six numbers in the show, each of which is choreographed by an Ithaca College faculty member and two of which feature the actual choreographers.
The show opens with a jazz piece called “Five’ll Get You Jive.” It was choreographed by Mary Corsaro, associate professor of theater arts. The number follows the story of 20 different characters — everyone from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, to a drunk, a sweetheart couple and to a trouble-making old lady — in a bar in the early 1940s.
“It’s sort of a mini-musical,” Corsaro said.
Corsaro said this is the fifth time she has staged the piece.
The next routine, called “The Hummingbird and the Butterfly,” is a playful duet between Amy Walker O’Brien, instructor of theater arts and the college’s ballet choreographer, and Lindsay Gilmour, assistant professor of theater arts and the modern dance choreographer.
O’Brien performs in pointe shoes, and Gilmour is barefoot. The piece blends O’Brien’s graceful ballet skills with Gilmour’s unique modern style of dance.
O’Brien also choreographed “Between the Two Falls,” a ballet number featuring about nine students, which she said does not have a plot or specific characters.
“Between the Two Falls” spans about 20 minutes and has five movements, each of which portrays a different emotion. She said the piece reflects her life over the past several years, including the birth of her child.
“It’s just a very personal, honest piece for me,” O’Brien said. “That’s what I’m explaining to the dancers and trying to get them to have that same emotional tie to it.”
The ballet routine is followed by Gilmour’s modern solo, “The East Wind in a Petticoat.” The piece uses clothing as a metaphor for how people define themselves.
Gilmour’s set includes two hanging dresses, white and black, that represent multiple identities for one person.
A dramatic theme change occurs with the show’s most political number, “Wiretap,” a tap piece choreographed by Elizabeth Livesay, lecturer of theater arts.
The number is set to a mix of James Bond music and features dancers as agents, complete with shades and earpieces, and civilians. Livesay said the dance forces the audience to examine their own perceptions of current political issues.
“The whole prospect of terrorism is scary,” Livesay said. “But the prospect of a government that can get right into your private life without any legal obstacles to doing that is also very scary.”
Livesay said despite its serious message, the performance is still light and entertaining.
The last piece in the show is a modern piece, titled “Nothing but the Sky.” The routine, which was choreographed by Gilmour, is based on the lives of Tibetan
The story follows the true story of Tibetan nuns who smuggled a recorder into a prison and taped their cries for freedom. The piece is set to field recordings and the prison chants.
The show is Gilmour’s first at the college since she started here in Fall 2006.
“I’ve had these ideas for years, and to have the resources here at Ithaca College to bring them to life is wonderful,” she said.
Livesay said her favorite part of the experience has been watching the students interpret the choreographers’ ideas.
“It’s a fun process to see [students] taking your choreography and ideas and making them [into] their own thing,” she said. “It’s been a great experience for everyone, I think.”
“Dance: No Translation Needed” will be performed at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Dillingham Center. Tickets are $10 or $7 for students and $7 or $5.50 for students on Sunday.