Ohio Wesleyan Dancers, Choreographers Present ‘Orchesis 2014’

Event Highlights Contemporary Dance in Three Main Stage Performances Nov. 15-17
Ohio Wesleyan University will present ‘Orchesis 2014’ Nov. 15-17. The contemporary dance performance will include, clockwise from left, Lauren Holler, Maddie Presley-Wolff, Yasmin Radzi, Buzzy Biddinger, and Katie Sponseller. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)

Ohio Wesleyan University will present ‘Orchesis 2014’ Nov. 15-17. The contemporary dance performance will include, clockwise from left, Lauren Holler, Maddie Presley-Wolff, Yasmin Radzi, Buzzy Biddinger, and Katie Sponseller. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University’s student dance company, Orchesis, will take to the stage Nov. 15-17 with 21 dancers performing seven pieces choreographed by students and faculty.

The Department of Theatre & Dance will present “Orchesis 2014” at 8 p.m. Nov. 15-16 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 17 on the Main Stage in Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for senior citizens, Ohio Wesleyan employees, and non-OWU students with a valid student ID. Tickets are free for OWU students with a valid university ID. To reserve tickets, call (740) 368-3855.

One of the show’s highlights is “Colony,” a full-company piece choreographed by artistic director and visiting assistant professor of dance Rashana Smith. In “Colony,” images of distinct individuals swirl in and out of focus from the ordered chaos of the entire company of dancers.

“As an artist, I consistently find myself interested in how we as humans retain our individuality while we simultaneously identify with large communities,” said Smith, M.F.A., who joined the university this year. “I am interested in how the group dynamics of communities affect individuals and their sense of identity. As dancers, how do we retain our individuality as we coalesce as an ensemble?”

Assistant professor of dance Marin Leggat, currently on leave, will return as a guest choreographer to present “Woman’s Work,” a piece featuring movement vocabulary generated from Rudolf Laban’s theory of weight effort. Leggat spent the summer studying Laban movement and became interested in exploring extremes of “light weight” and “strong weight” effort. She took the idea of weight effort and her own visceral life experiences into the studio to generate movement.

“There was something I was exploring about women, and how, as women, we carry these dual natures of strength and lightness,” said Leggat, M.F.A. “There is something complex and beautiful about that duality.”

The show’s remaining pieces, all choreographed by Ohio Wesleyan dance students, explore a variety of themes.

  • Junior Lauren Holler of Cleveland will examine how dance can be used as a form of public advocacy through fast-paced, contemporary choreography.
  • Junior Joyce Peterson of Avon, Ohio, will consider looking outside of one’s own world into the world of others to overcome individual struggles.
  • Sophomore Yasmin Radzi of Houston, Texas, will explore how light and dark affect space using contrasting movement qualities.
  • Junior Michelle Smith of Austin, Texas, will explore contrasting, explosive styles while collaborating with live musicians.
  • Senior Katie Sponseller of Berea, Ohio, will create a fun and animated world of powerful movements inspired by the elements and evolution of video games.

The Nov. 15 performance will be free for Ohio Wesleyan faculty and staff with a talkback immediately following performance. After the Nov. 16 performance, the dancers and choreographers will take part in a meet and mingle with the audience. Light refreshments will be provided.

Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Theatre & Dance offers professional training, within the context of the liberal arts, in the traditional areas of theatre history/literature/aesthetics, acting, directing, playwriting, design, technology, stage management, arts management, theatre education, and dance. Learn more about the department, including information about upcoming performances, at theatre.owu.edu.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities. Ohio Wesleyan offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. OWU combines an internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that connect classroom theory with real-world practice. Located in Delaware, Ohio, OWU’s 1,850 students represent 41 states and 45 countries. The university is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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