Sweet Briar to stage Fall Dance Concert Nov. 9 and 10

Fall Dance Concert
A group of Sweet Briar dancers. Photo by Andrew Wilds

Faculty and students in Sweet Briar College’s dance program will perform in the annual Fall Dance Concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, and Saturday, Nov. 10, in Murchison Lane Auditorium in the Babcock Fine Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Known for his unconventional style, Professor of Dance Mark Magruder has choreographed a dance for 10 students called “Sometimes, benched.” Three metal benches are used in the dance, with the dancers “leaping over them, balancing on them and changing their positions several times during the piece,” Magruder said. “One of the performers is an outsider who strolls through this work in outlandish costumes evoking the idea of ‘sometimes.’”

In true Magruder fashion, he will be playing the score live using loops, Moog synthesizers and several other musical instruments.

His wife, fellow Professor of Dance Ella Magruder, has created a quintet to Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1, reconfigured digitally for strings by Jeffrey L. Briggs.

danceJunior Haylei Libran, a dance major and a theatre minor from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., has choreographed a piece titled “Dissonance” for six dancers, herself included. Central to her dance are the themes of trust and support, as well as the connection that comes from being part of a group. To illustrate those themes, Libran is using what she calls a “risk element”: all of the dancers are blindfolded the entire time.

“Inspiration for this dance came from a piece I saw in Australia during the summer at the dance and the Child international conference,” Libran said. “Dancers were in a headstand, with their head in a box, and they kept in perfect unison despite not being able to see each other. I really enjoyed the idea of not being able to see the other dancers but still be moving in time together.”

Olympia LeHota, a double major in art history and dance with an arts management certificate who is pursuing a B.F.A., is planning a group dance and a solo.

Her group piece, “Hum With Me,” will feature four female dancers wearing long dresses. “There is a sensitive emotion between the four and they look out for one another,” LeHota said. As with Libran, LeHota’s inspiration also comes from her summer experience in Australia. “I learned a lot while I was there and I’m starting to blend what I learned into my own choreography here at Sweet Briar,” she said.

Her solo is called “Dream Storm.”

“Lately I have gone through a lot of changes in my life, including dealing with new tasks that I’ve never encountered before,” LeHota explained. “I have found that I am coming into my own more and more as the months go by, but I am still struggling to figure out what’s next.”

Other choreographers include Cassandra Mills ’20, who is doing an aerial solo using silks, and Rachel Woods ’20 and Taylor Jefferson ’19, who have each created group pieces.

For more information, email Mark Magruder at magruder@sbc.edu.