This performance of No Blue Memories-The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks has to be my favorite of this entire semester. I love stories that outline the path of determination and success of people of color, but the jazz, R&B, and puppeteering is what drew me deeper in.
On November 29th I went to the art showing of perSISTERS by Leda Black at the UIUC campus YMCA. The art encompassed the many female figures who made an impact on society and persisted no matter the many obstacles they faced, along with many inspirational quotes by them or that represented them in a large way.
Before Thanksgiving Break, We got the opportunity to witness a performance called “Virago-Man Dem,” choreographed by Cynthia Oliver, at the Krannert Center.
Written By Xuan Huynh
I was extremely excited to watch this performance because dancing is one of my favorite hobbies. Dancing has helped me get through many tough times. Whenever I’m sad, I listen to music and dance and immediately I feel better.
At the beginning of the performance, I was undeniably confused. They were shaking, wasn’t in sync with each other and doing odd, never seen moves. It looked like they were being possessed. I even asked one of my classmates “What’s going on?” I thought it was going to be typical, modern dance but it was completely the opposite but in the best way possible.
Shapeshifting was present in the performance in many ways. They changed costumes a lot, so maybe they were shifting to another being. An example of this is towards the end when the male dancers changed into dresses. Even though the dance was nothing like I expected, it delivered a strong message. It challenged society’s stereotypes of what it means to be an African American male as well as address issues that African Americans face such as police brutality. During one part of the performance, they had their hands up. I think conveying this message through live performance is powerful and extremely creative. I would love to see another one of her performances soon.
Walking into the theatre, I didn’t really know what to expect. At first, a tall figure in white stood at the end of some steps by the stage. I wasn’t sure if it was a stand of some sort or an actual person. Then another performer in all white came out and stood on the stage. Following two more performances that stood in different areas of the stage or stairs. I became even more curious to see what they were going to perform.
As the show began, I noticed how the dancers based their moves to the backdrop on stage. For instance, the backdrop had 4 comic figures of black robotics. The dancers will dance more robotic, but as the backdrop changes so does the dancers moves. The dancers shift their technique from robot to afro centric. Two dancers may have a piece while the other two are dancing in their own way on other side of the stage.
This performance intrigued me even more being African American because of the many Afro beats and dances. The emotions the dancers were putting in every movement made me feel their energy. Even the switch from Afro centric to Afro Latino vibe. It was a fun show to watch. I love the spice the men added in their dance movements and even their short script. Anytime I see a piece voguing I get excited. It made want to dance with them.
Last week, the Krannert Center for Performing Arts held a dance performance choreographed by Cynthia Oliver. The performance, Virago-Man Dem, involved different stages of movement that worked in conjunction with a screen, spotlight, and flickering music.
Prior to leaving for Thanksgiving Break, I had the opportunity to attend yet another show at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. I must say I have come to enjoy the performances that I go see each week. This particular performance by Cynthia Oliver titled, “Virago-Man Dem,” was something unexpected but quite intriguing by the message it left behind.
This is my first time attending a show features dancing. Long before I went to the show, I’ve already heard about Cynthia Oliver, a famous dancer. Although on that night she did not show up during the show, but her students successfully brought us a wonderful show.
Before Virago-Man Dem, I thought the show was going to be boring and uninteresting from talking to other people about the show. Being there on Thursday made me think and feel otherwise. I personally enjoyed the show because I love modern dance.
Modern dance is unique way of dancing. There is no specific choreography and you can do and go as you please. My favorite aspect of modern dance is shape-shifting. you see shapeshifting thoughout the performance. All levels of space were being used. There were also examples of shape-shifting in the images in the background. The artwork and projections enhanced the performance. As mentioned before, the background enhanced the idea of shape-shifting or the dance as a whole. I noticed how each dancer made each scene personal. Each scene glimpses into personal experiences.
Virago-Man Dem is something you do not see often. It is very different from any other typical dance performance you would go see.