Contemporary Dance Ensemble waxes timely with Ricochet

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Ricochet, a spring showcase presented by the Contemporary Dance Ensemble, was held Feb. 7-9 in the Ragan Theater

The show boasted a wide array of choreographers. The performance featured choreography by faculty members Angie Banchero-Kelleher, Amy Markgraf, Sarah Donohue and Doris Trujillo. They were also joined by guest choreographers Carl Flink and Kumiko Kashiwagi, along with the historical repertories of Doris Humphries and Michio Ito.

This event began with a piece called “Journey,” choreographed by Doris Hudson de Trujillo, the department of dance chair. Trujillo’s work has taken her all over the world as an artist, teacher and director. Her pieces have been featured across the country and as well as in Spain.

The second performance was “The End of Space, The Beginning of Time El Sueño Americano” by Angela Banchero-Kelleher. This piece used the movements of the dancers and the musical accompaniment by Beck, Che Apalache, Hildur Gudnadottir and Alejandro Escovedo as as a political device to address immigration and the policies advocated for by the current President’s administration. Along with the music were projections of news clips addressing immigration and showing the conditions people have been put into.

The third piece was set to “Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor” by Bach and was choreographed by Doris Humphrey. The piece calls for people to live together, work together and ultimately come together as a community. This dance served as a stark contrast to the message of separation presented by Banchero-Kelleher’s piece that preceded it. “Passacaglia” is an excerpt of a larger piece that will be performed by Repertory Dance Theatre in April.

The fourth piece was “The Bleeding Heart…” by guest director Carl Fink, the artistic director of Minneapolis’ Black Label Movement. This was the most physically violent piece of the event. The movements of the dancers were jarring and there were more lifts than in any other piece. The piece featured music by John Tavener and Tori Amos.

The next three pieces were choreographed by Michio It?. After Pearl Harbor, It? was one of the over 110,000 Japanese Americans arrested and put into internment camps. It? was eventually repatriated as part of a prisoner exchange program.

It?’s aspiration in life is to bring together the East and the West through his art. He originated several arm movements that he used as the basis of his work. The use of It?’s work after the audience has been faced with the message of Banchero-Kelleher’s and Humphrey’s work  encouraged the viewer to see parallels between the treatment of Japanese American citizens during the second world war and the way immigrants and refugees are treated today in America.

The night was closed out with “Under the Cherry Tree” by Kumiko Komine and “Numbers for Names” by Sarah Donohue. These It? performances were part of projects Donohue is working on. She and this ensemble will travel to a former incarceration camp to participate in an Arts in the Parks residency program.

“I have also been granted permission by the It? Foundation to teach the It? technique and repertory and to use Michio It? ‘s gestures to create new choreography,” Donohue said. “I have done in a piece called Numbers for Names, which premieres in the concert and has been selected for adjudication at the American College Dance Association Conference in March.”

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