REVIEW: Becoming Untethered – BFA Dance Recital

This was my first time seeing a dance show. I was blown away. I thought I knew what to expect walking into this event but the incredible variety and creativity that I was witness to was truly remarkable. The title and central theme of the performance, Becoming Untethered, was presented in a myriad of ways throughout the piece. From what I could tell, the seniors representing the work each performed a solo piece and then choreographed a longer dance for a larger group of performers of which they were not one. The performance opened with one of these solo works which showcased the struggle of a dancer, slowly breaking away from the strict confines of her ballet shoes into a freer form of expressive movement. There were many other notable parts of the performance. One included a solo that was, quite frankly, a bit unsettling to watch, but I felt that this was the dancer’s goal, as she moved with an almost primal persona, twisting and contorting, and ultimately, rushing toward the audience as the lights blacked out. I almost took a message of disturbed body image from this performance, as the girl seemed almost to be eating her own arm, may have represented a dialogue on eating disorders. I’m not sure I would have been wanting to sit in the front row for that performance but it was certainly evocative, that’s for sure. I was also incredibly intrigued by the group performance where a girl seemed tethered to both her chair and her a static screen projected against the back wall. I can’t be sure, but I took from this piece a statement on our society’s obsession with things like television and drugs and the need to be liked by others. The dancers did a wonderful job of conveying this message, the identically-dressed dancers somehow always excluding the sole dancer in different clothes. Overall, the performance was incredibly well-developed, exploring complicated themes through choice of music, costumes, and of course, movement. Seeing one girl unable to escape the clutches of repetitive, compulsive movement, even as her fellow dancers attempted and slowly stopped trying over time to cease her actions was difficult to watch. But this later become resolved as, in a following piece, she was finally able to be led off-stage by a fellow performer. It was so interesting to me, how complex, how emotional, how varied these stories could be that are told only through one’s body. Each dancer and choreographer clearly had a vision that was brought to life through their own creativity and the incredible skill of those that embodied their work. These seniors and all those other dancers involved should be incredibly proud of the work that they presented. I doubt if anyone in the audience could have left without still thinking about what they had just witnessed.

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