The dance department at Cleveland State University is currently presenting its annual spring dance concert at the Allen Theatre in Playhouse Square. The concert features dances choreographed by CSU’s visiting guest artists, including Jenna Riegel, Tyler Ring, Talise Campbell, Rena Butler, Dianne McIntyre, and Chrissy Martin.
Leading up to the show, the Cauldron had the opportunity to speak with two of the choreographers: Chrissy Martin and Tyler Ring.
Chrissy Martin, who is visiting Cleveland State from Chicago, began dancing for fun as a child. While she was an undergrad student, Martin realized dance helped her cope with life’s challenges. “I think dance is one of my survival strategies,” Martin explained.
Martin choreographed (re)spire, a 16 minute dance inspired by the book “Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals” by Alexis Pauline Gumbs. The dance puts a focus on breath and spatial awareness as a way to communicate the importance of close relationships.
The biggest challenge while creating the piece was Martin’s commitment to making something new despite time constraints. She wanted to give the dancers an experience that allowed them to collaborate with each other and herself. Martin hopes the audience will see the strong relationship the dancers formed throughout their time together.
Tyler Ring, originally from Indiana, received his BFA in Dance Performance from Ball State University. He began dancing for Thodos Dance Chicago before working for GroundWorks dance Theatre. While at GroundWorks, Ring started teaching ballet at CSU.
Ring choreographed The Corrected Path, a dance with a strong sense of personal storytelling that intends to inspire healing. Ring used this show as a way to return to the dance world after an injury he endured prevented him from dancing. As he began to recover, Ring turned to choreography and started teaching ballet.
Ring’s favorite part of the piece is the energy the students bring to it. The dancers actually helped shape the piece through their individual backgrounds and experiences. “I hope that people will come see what the next generation has to bring to the table. I like to think of this show as a good melting pot of what is current in Northeast Ohio.”
With a total of six different dances, the show manages to be both unique and cohesive. The performances are full of emotion and truly captivating with their use of sounds, lighting, and form.
Tickets for Sunday’s performance are $5.00-$15.00 and may be purchased by phone at 216-241-6000 or online at playhousesqaure.org.
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