Tag Archives: dance

The Rhythms of Virago-Man Dem

This production of Virago-Man Dem was an intriguing display of various movements and vibrant colors, blending light and dance for a single product.
-By Daniel Holley

Created by University of Illinois dance professor Cynthia Oliver, Virago-Man Dem is filled with simple movements and dance patterns. The four cast members dance fluidly around one another, and are often not in-sync. This style of dance is impressive to me because each member must keep track of their own specific movements and position on the stage floor. Although the choreography did not appear especially tricky, the cast was able to execute the simple movements in a way that kept the audience’s attention.

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An Empty Stage That Is Full

“Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.

Written by Jackie Dominguez

This past month has been the hardest without a doubt. Today I think it’s safe to say is one of top 5 hardest days in my life. Needless to say, the world keeps on spinning and I need to finish my assignments for the year. When I clicked on the link to the dance performance of Virago-Man Dem, I didn’t know that a performance during this hard time would provide me with a comfort that I didn’t think was possible to have in a time like this.

I would’ve never imagined I would be watching a performance like Virago-Man Dem in my living room, but here we are.
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The Complex Dance of Virago-Man Dem

Virago-Man Dem, a production performed by the COCo. Dance Theatre, was performed live at The Dance Center in Columbia College at Chicago and made available through Vimeo.

Written by Willa Wu

The composer of this production, Jason Finelman, sought to explore the complexities of black masculinity through the expression of dance.  Throughout this production, he adopted a relatively quiet and mysterious style to dancing.  

Four dancers silently standing in the beginning of the dance.
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Step Afrika! Performs: Drumfolk

The cast of Step Afrika! delivered a powerful performance that made the audience feel the highs and lows of black history in America. Their bodies were the instruments as they sang, stomped, clapped, flipped, and danced their way into our hearts.
-By Daniel Holley

The cast wraps up their performance to a standing ovation.
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Step Africa! : Drumfolk, a Story About Freedom.

written by Zeying Lang

Flashing back to the story happened in 1739, and following the fantastic dance crew to unveil the history behind contemporary African culture. To experience, to touch, their bravery, and the hereditary beats…

Step Africa!: Drumfolk. https://krannertcenter.com/events/step-afrika-drumfolk
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The Power of Movement: The Body as an Instrument Against Oppression

The production of Drumfolk was performed by the professional organization Step Afrika! at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in the Colwell Playhouse on February 7th, 2020. Drumfolk is a stepping performance that highlights the battles of Africans throughout American history. 

By Elena Grantcharski

Ticket Stub for the Friday performance of Drumfolk

In my opinion, the entire point of Drumfolk was the concept of using your body as an instrument. One of the most powerful parts of the performance for me was when they narrated that, “They took our drums, but they could not stop the beat.” It showed the power of making something out of nothing. They no longer had their drums, so they had to use their bodies. Most of the performance was stepping and beatboxing and it shows how they would not let themselves be oppressed. In a literal sense, they were slaves; but in their mind they would never consider themselves as such. The power of the mind, the strength of their will, and the expression in their movements was very apparent in this performance. Dancing amazes me because of how accurately dancers can express their feelings just by moving their bodies. 

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A Ballet Worth The Hype: The Shanghai Ballet’s Production of Butterfly Lovers

The world renowned Shanghai Ballet performs their production of the 2001 Chinese Ballet “Butterfly Lovers” in the Tryon Festival Theatre at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

By Elena Grantcharski

Ticket stub for the Wednesday performance of Butterfly Lovers

Butterfly Lovers was a very emotive ballet with a romance story that attacked my hopeless romantic heart. The fact that this story was in the format of a ballet is very significant because the dancers did a very good job of showing how ballet is a very powerful and emotive dance form. Throughout the ballet, they show the yearning they have for each other and you can feel the strong emotional tension between them through the types of dance moves. There is a lot of push and pull in their dancing which perfectly describes the unfortunate circumstance of their relationship. They always try to pull each other together but always get pushed apart by society and by the other people in their lives.

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Makeup: FACT Variety Show

Written by Danielle Herrera

A multitude of performers including UIUC’s Filipino Cultural Dance group showcase a wide range of talents at the Foellinger Auditorium.

On November 9, 2019 the University of Illinois’s Philippine Student Association held its 27th Annual FACT conference in Urbana, Champaign. FACT, or Filipino Americans Coming Together, is a large event that invites Filipinos from colleges across the Midwest to celebrate their culture and heritage. It is a 3 day long conference that involves a variety of different workshops, social gatherings, and an infamous variety show. The FACT variety show provides different universities the opportunity to showcase their talents, whether it be dancing, singing, or even reciting poetry. In addition, famous special guests are invited to perform making the variety show an event that many anticipate to attend.

Women villagers attacking abats (center)

This year, I was able to participate in FACT’s variety show as a part of Barkada, UIUC’s cultural Filipino dance group. We performed a dance that depicted ancient creatures called abats, supernatural beasts originating from Filipino folklore. Abats are said to be beautiful maiden by day, but monstrous creatures by night; with large bat-like wings and sharp fangs, abats were thought to roam around villages reeking havoc amongst the people. Our dance portrayed a story in which 3 maidens are poisoned and transform into abats, but are later fought and killed by the the men and women villagers. The whole performance traditional Filipino garments, sticks, spears, and much more.

Dancers backstage after performance

I think this dance was a fun but challenging experience. I have never participated in Filipino cultural dance before, but I was eager to learn more about my heritage and my roots. Initially, I struggled maintaining the specific postures that are essential to most traditional Filipino dances such as this one; for example, it is required that you keep your chin raised at a 90 degree angle with your eyes pointed downwards so the whites of the eyes are not seen. This posture is necessary for all women to sustain throughout the entire performance, with only a few exceptions. Small details such as these were enforced in order to accurately portray Filipino cultural dancing, and ultimately play a large role in traditional dance competitions such as the Battle of the Bamboo (which Barkada competes in every year). Overall, this performance required months of practices and rehearsals; however it was worth it, because not only did it teach me more about Filipino cultural dancing but through the process I was able to meet an amazing group of people and share a wonderful experience with them.

For more information about FACT, visit https://fact.psauiuc.org/.

Tiger: Raw and Intimate

Written by Raymond Diaz

TIGER, the 5th performance from Deke Weaver’s Unreliable Bestiary project, brings together a performance set on a more intimate stage. Through years of research and personal experiences Deke Weaver brings to the audience an abstract and almost curious performance, accompanied by dance, playing different characters to give a sense of location but also light-hearted comedic tone, as well as not straying away from rawness and expressing anger with how little time the Earth may have. A raw and intimate performance bringing together a series of short stories that string together the main point, tigers.

https://kam.illinois.edu/event/tiger-performance-no-5-unreliable-bestiary

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