CSU dancers perform for the first time since 2019
By Abigail Jarvis
On Nov. 12 and 13, Cleveland State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance hosted a dance performance with an in-person audience for the first time since before the pandemic. They held the concert in the Black Box Theatre of the 13th Street Building.
The program consisted of five dances of varying styles. The first was titled “Finding Soleá,” and choreographed by CSU professor Alice Blumenfeld and the performers, students in her Flamenco course this semester. The class danced as an ensemble, with small solos moments set to traditional Flamenco music and lively rhythms from a variety of musical artists. The class certainly displayed all that they had learned throughout the semester, from the emotional complexity and tradition of Flamenco to the energy the dance requires. It was evident that the course was entertaining and informative.
The second performance had three members from the Cleveland State Dance Company- Sydney Adebo, Rachel Jablonski, and Saige Rook- and was choreographed by GroundWorks dancer Annie Morgan. The trio performed a modern dance called “Deep Green,” titled after the song by the same name, composed by Julien Chang. The dance was mesmerizing and harmonic, and clearly required deep synchrony and understanding between the performers.
CSU’s Visiting Guest Artist in Dance, Antonio Brown, then had a featurette of his piece, “Encounters,” which was performed by CSU’s Dance Group. Dance Group member Celeste Zirm stated about the piece, “It has been two years since I performed, so it was really refreshing to dance alongside an ensemble with the thrill of a live audience again.”
The dance was a powerful force of contemporary rhythms and movements. Zirm continued, “This piece was relatable- I think to a lot of people because Antonio’s energetic choreography was all about the different people we encounter and how they impact us.”
The second to last performance of the night was titled “Posthumously.” On Friday night the dance was performed by Dance Company member Mary Nozak and on Saturday night it was performed by company member Megan Bryars. Choreographed by Tammie Metz-Starr, the dance told the story of one woman’s journey through life towards death. The dance was graceful and elegant and featured a bouquet of white flowers that symbolized important transitions, which paired beautifully with lighting designed by department faculty member Russ Borski.
The last performance of the evening was titled “Night,” also choreographed by Antonio Brown. The Contemporary-Modern piece was performed by the CSU Dance Company who were all clad in long blue dresses. The piece was set to music from the Macbeth soundtrack arranged by Brown, and was inspired by the popular Hulu series “Handmaid’s Tale.” Since the performance was based on that narrative, the theme was solemn and dark but intensely engaging.
Altogether, the performances could be described as a remarkable return to in-person dance, especially since both evenings sold out of tickets and hosted a full audience. The CSU Department of Theatre and Dance will return in the spring with more on-stage performances with the musical “She Loves Me,” a Spring Dance Concert, and the play “The Gentle Villainy of Richard III, Troubler of the Poor World’s Peace.” More information on all CSU performances can be found here.