Virago-Man Dem: Fighting Cultural Conventions with Dance

Written by Carol(Yining) Wei

 

Last Thursday we went to Krannert Center of Performing Arts for the show Virago-Man Dem created by the artist Cynthia Oliver. The dance of this performance was not exactly how we pictured it to be. It was not so much of a typical dance, but more like a play in which the themes are presented by physical motions of the dancers and change in lightings.

This show has an interesting start. The music was groovy and the dancers all dressed in white, standing on four spots on and off the stage. The screen has purple lighting, and the spotlights are on the dancers. Then as it started, the screen turned into blue with patterns like waves and then some drawings showed up. The creater used various visual and audio stimulations to the audience. For example, the most memorable one was the red screen with buzzing sound that gave me a minor headache. I also noticed that some students left early, and this might be a reason.

Credit: The New York Times

 

One of the themes I can tell from this performance was the police violence to African Americans. There was a scene in which the dancers has their hands up. This was a pretty abstract show and to be very honest, I did not get all of it, but I think the theme is defying cultural pressures and breaking free from conformity. For the texts I saw on the screen, “it’s complicated” reflects social issues such as racism, black traditions or the history of slavery in the US. It is a complicated culture, just as all cultures are, while the media would try to portray it from one single aspect which does not represent the full picture.

 

 

 

Light Seeker: Photo exhibition at Illini Union Art Gallery

Written by Carol(Yining) Wei

Last week, I went to the photo exhibition “Light Seeker”at Illini Union Art Gallery by Champaign Photography Association as a replacement event for the violinist performance. This exhibition is available to all the students, and it is also a sale for students who are interested in purchasing  photographies.

My favorite picture from this exhibition is the photo of Undergraduate Library. It was taken from a unique viewpoint so both the McFarland Memorial Bell Tower and the underground windows were included in the frame. This reminds me of the days and nights I spent in UGL, the sunsets and sunrises. Judging by how crowded it is inside the Undergraduate Library in the picture, it was probably taken in an afternoon since there are usually barely anyone in the morning.

Another picture that I also loved was this one: a black-and-white photo of a train station. There was no description or title for this photo, but it seemd like a station since everyone was rushing with luggages or bags carried on them. The decorations at the ceiling shows the luxury side of the modern world, while everyone seemed busy and are in a rush for their lives. I would say that this is a pretty thought-provoking photo.