Lily Hoblik doesn’t plan to use props when her quintet of dancers takes the stage for Sweet Briar’s Fall Dance Concert. Hoblik is one of several student choreographers who’ll be showcasing work at the concert, which will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, and Saturday, Nov. 16, in Murchison Lane Auditorium at Babcock Fine Arts Center. Admission is free with general seating.
“I have complete faith in the dancers that I’ve chosen that they can get across everything I want without anything but their movement,” says the junior dance major from Edgewood, Ky.
Her plan works for dance program director Mark Magruder, who says it “grabs you and makes you want to get involved with it. She’s made it easy to enter and you want to know why this is happening.”
Set to M83’s “In the Cold I’m Standing,” Hoblik says it is about sadness and anger stemming from a family member’s betrayal. The music gives the dance an industrial, apocalyptic feel, Magruder says.
Magruder is impressed with several pieces his students are putting together for the show, including “Dust” by Nelson County sophomore Ashlynn Watson. Watson also is keeping it simple with four dancers and just two props, two black boxes that the performers use to help illustrate the underlying message — how easy it is to be influenced by forces we have control over.
She likes the visual effect of creating levels on the stage but eschews trickery or special effects to wow her audience, she says.
“Sometimes it gives me chills when [the dancers] really feel the movements and the mood of the piece. I want [the audience] to feel what the dancer is feeling. If nothing else, I want them to walk away saying ‘I felt something.’ ”
Other student pieces include junior Tiffanie Brown’s fast-paced quintet that suggests the women are climbing a corporate ladder, represented in part by a brief case — which is later revealed to be empty. Samantha Cochran ’16 has two pieces on the program. In her solo, she uses a long, flowing scarf, which, combined with her athletic moves, gives the dance intrigue and excitement, Magruder says. She also is choreographing a quartet that Magruder calls a witty, fun and fast-paced dance, performed with spunk and energy and set to upbeat classical music.
For his own choreography, Magruder will have 15 dancers, 14 of them acting as the “terrain” surrounding a lone figure who is living in her “mind’s eye.” It’s a reference to that place people go to when they create pleasant memories of events that never happened. The dance is a kind of expression of his and his mother’s experiences with memory loss, especially after the recent death of his father.
“It’s not real but because you lived it in your mind, it’s like [it is], and it makes you feel better,” says Magruder.
Professor Ella Magruder also is choreographing a trio titled “Voyage” based on “Ithaca” by the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy.
“[The dance and the poem] are about one’s voyage through life,” she says, explaining its genesis. “This year I have been reflecting a lot [on] the many paths that people around me have chosen to take — including myself — and realized how people’s beliefs about what is important change the quality of their journey to old age.”
For more information about the concert, contact Mark Magruder at [email protected] or (434) 381-6150.