Week 1 at Bates

16 Aug

As Colby students, we feel an intense rivalry with Bates. However, the college happens to be home to the world renowned Bates Dance Festival, where I have spent the past week and will spent the next two weeks. The festival is amazing! Each day, I take four classes. My day starts with Modern Technique, taught by Carol Dilley, who is a dance professor at Bates. The class is very technical and structured, which is a great way to prepare my body for the day. Following technique, I take a class called Making Dances I. This is not a traditional composition class, though. It is more about finding our own artistic voices and painting self-portraits through movement. We are also learning new ways to start generating movement. While I enjoy the class, I sometimes find it very frustrating because I come from a conventional dance background and sometimes have trouble thinking outside the box. That being said, the teachers, Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig, make these tasks more approachable. In the afternoon, I take Afro-modern, which is a great class that helps me to feel much more grounded in my other classes. I love the earthy movement style and exploring a technique that is basically foreign to me. I end the day with a lecture class called the Business of Dance. This class is extremely interesting and informative-we learn about networking, self-marketing, and the many areas that make up the dance industry. I am starting to learn a lot about myself as an artist and am making new discoveries about how I want to move forward in this field.

Aside from classes, the festival brings in amazing dance companies to perform and give lectures and demonstrations. The festival kicked off with a performance by Nicholas Leichter Dance, a company which fuses modern/contemporary and hip-hop. I absolutely loved the style of the movement, which was paired with the score of the hit musical, “The Wiz.” Another amazing performance I saw was the Zoe/Juniper company, choreographed by Zoe Scofield. The work was absolutely incredible-I don’t think I breathed normally for the entire hour-long piece. The incorporation of multimedia with extremely technical movement was seamless and the technology enhanced the dancing. Zoe explored some really interesting concepts and the movement style was so interesting. Next week, I look forward to seeing David Dorfman’s company perform, as I am a huge fan of his work. Overall, the festival is wonderful so far and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in modern dance!

Enjoy the last of summer!!

-Maddie Kurtz

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