UVU’s Contemporary Dance Ensemble transported their audience through a multitude of settings and emotions in their performance of Hear us Roar at the Ragan Theater March 9.
In five numbers, the dance ensemble showcased choreography from company director Monica Campbell and Oni Dance Company’s choreographers Maria Gillespie, Heather Grey and Natosha Washington.
The third piece, “Tarot,” began with thunder, and then carried the audience through various settings and feelings with the creative use of props and lighting. The number began with slow operatic music that later transitioned to electronic music. A chilly atmosphere filled the stage as dancers pounded and clapped upon two tables and others danced upon them underneath red and yellow lighting.
Whitney Collins, a UVU alumna who was attending, said, “I really enjoyed “Wild Seed”…they had this part in the dance where they were walking on the walls. That was just really eye-catching to watch.”
Although the company performed well collectively, the talents of individual dancers shined through.
UVU dance major sophomore, Cristina Espana, said, “They put a lot of their feelings and emotions into it. I know it is sometimes hard to get into character in some of the dances, and I would say that was really good.”
A unique portion of the concert was the premiere of dance filmmaker Aleisha Paspuel’s screendance “In a Picture a Thousand Worlds.” On the large screen, they played Paspuel’s film where dancers moved through diverse settings.
In stunning cinematography, dancers performed with frame, taking the audience to a forest, lake and woodlands. The various visions captured the different possibilities a picture could contain.
The dance “Turas” was a suspenseful conclusion to the program. The dance depicted the anguish of those in Northern Ireland and had recordings of stories from the Irish playing. Dancers reenacted fighting through dance, and effectively reflected the struggle of the Irish in their expressions and movements.
One dancer introduced the piece in a chilling vocal performance. At the close of the number, two dancers came on the stage and sang an acapella piece that wrapped up the violent parts of the dance with a reflective sense of hope.
“The final piece — Monica’s — was extremely impressive. Their breathing was so in sync that all their movement was in sync. It was incredible to watch that cohesiveness, unison, and community happening on the stage in front of you,” said Deedee Moroz, a UVU alumna.