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.
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.
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.
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.