Undergraduate choreographers at the University of Minnesota presented an hour-long showcase this weekend that felt breezy and enjoyable despite dealing with very serious issues. How serious? Oh, just HUMAN TRAFFICKING serious!
That’s right, Sarah Stokes’s Craigslist Stars had not only the deliberately tortured dancing of six performers to convey its humanitarian message, it also had a spoken passage (Samantha Tulin’s “The Hushed Empire”) describing the horrors of sexual slavery. Ambitious—and effective. Striking similar notes of captivity and frustration was Alexander Pham’s Anger En[gender]ed, which concluded with its five female dancers jerking spasmodically, trying to squeeze the conniptions out of their bodies like toothpaste out of a tube.
Lemon Dance, a solo dance performed by Emma Barber (a friend of mine) to original text that she recited as she danced, was captivating in a way you wouldn’t think a performance about a woman in love with a lemon could be. The piece concluded with Barber biting the lemon, to which the audience reacted with audible shock. Whether they were shocked by the act of biting the lemon or “the act of biting the lemon,” I cannot say.
The other dances were a fine sampler of varying styles including tap (MinnesoTAP’s Wishery) and hip-hop (Darrius Strong’s Changing Perspectives, a fairly literal reading of Drake’s “The Real Her”). Saturday night’s performance was followed with a meal catered by Afro Deli, something I would definitely like to reprise.
Coverage of issues and events affecting Central Corridor communities is funded in part by a grant from the Central Corridor Collaborative.