Dance Ensemble opens “wd u harbor me”

By Mayo Sueta
suetamay@grinnell.edu

For their biannual performance, Dance Ensemble will be performing a piece called “wd u harbor me” this weekend. This semester, they have decided to use the set that was originally created for Craig Quintero’s “The First Time I Walked on the Moon” as their performance space. The dancers interact with projections throughout the piece, and the elevated seating of the set gives the show another layer of complexity, making the unique stage suitable for the performance.

At the start of the semester, the ensemble began with the idea of “a stranger in a strange land,” but it evolved through the process as they connected it to the idea of belonging.

“The dance is about … what is belonging, what is a group, what [does] it mean to be in isolation from a group or be with a group. And how does that interact with ideas of democracy and tribalism,” said Zoe Fruchter ’21, a member of the ensemble.

Within the piece, the dancers play with the theme through different movements, sometimes all doing the same movements and other times dancing in different groups or individually.

“I think there’s a motif of adherence versus speaking out. That, for me, evokes [feelings of] do I want to speak out or do I want to just be part of the group … going with the flow,” said Emily Gold ’19, another member of the ensemble.

The process of creating the piece was a highly collaborative one between Celeste Miller, the choreographer, and the dancers.

“In dance ensemble, it starts with our choreography,” Fruchter said. “Celeste [Miller] has the idea but she really built off of these pieces that we made as groups and also individually, and then made them into something greater.”

Story Lesher ’19, another ensemble member, agreed.

“The fall semester is very exploratory, and we all get to create a lot of our own movement. That’s something I really enjoy because everybody has really different backgrounds,” she said.  “And it’s become this really cool cohesive thing.”

Fruchter mentioned how different aspects of the show such as lights, sounds and overall staging go beyond just being visually pleasing and allow the audience to engage with the dance and connect with the theme.

“These multi-dimensional aspects convey the complexity of what we’re working with and support the dance in a way that elevates it,” she said.

Fruchter hopes that the show will create a conversation between the audience members.

“I want people to talk about it. I want people to … walk out of the theatre and, well, first of all, to go ‘Wow, that was crazy.’ And then I want them to be like ‘What did that mean?’ … I want people to start discussing these themes and how it interacts with their own experiences with belonging and not belonging.”

The show will take place on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Flanagan Studio Theatre.

Zoe Fruchter ’21 and Ben Nguyen ’19 rehearse “wd u harbor me” for this weekend’s opening.
Photo By Reina Shahi


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