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Danceworks Fall Concert: visually arresting Contemporary pieces

By Katie Webb Arts & Entertainment Editor


"Forever Wild" by Kay Hopkins

The fall Danceworks concert took place Nov. 8 and 9 at the Adams Playhouse.  The show was a high-energy event encompassing hip-hop numbers, jazz pieces, a Broadway interpretation and a tap piece. The contemporary pieces were artistic visions, the most moving part of the show.

Dancers appear wearing white collared shirts. The fabric of the oversized men’s button ups hangs limply from their forms. It’s the last vestige of an affair long gone but not yet forgotten.

Desperation courses through each movement. A dancer thrusts herself wildly into the arms of her male counterpart. She clings to his frame, suspended from the ground yet unwilling to let go. One leg wrapped around his torso is tensely bent at the knee while her foot gracefully extends off his body. She leaps away from him rebelliously, back to the ensemble of dancers performing elegant floor work around the pair.

The piece, choreographed by Lindsay Browning, captures the essence of an obsessive broken relationship. “Forever Wild” is performed to Cedric Gervais’s remix of “Young & Beautiful,” adding another layer of emotionally raw power with Lana Del Ray’s soft crooning.

"Our World" by Kay Hopkins

Directly following this piece was Julia Neto’s “Our World.”

Statuesque dancers stand in a line lit against a pale backdrop. Like delicate ballerina’s trapped in a wind-up jewelry box, the figures move mechanically. They manipulate one another, pushing and pulling their partners in turn.

Breaking out of the structured movements, the dancers begin to breathe life into their steps. Dancers dive into their partner’s arms, met by pushback, unable to move freely. The figures cradle themselves, their arms wrapped securely around their chests holding tightly to their shoulders swaying in a trance-like state.

Adele’s “Hometown Glory” accompanies Neto’s piece. It portrays a struggle between letting others constrain you and being free-spirited. The transition from restrained movements to jarring leaps is visually striking.

"I Didn't Know I Was [Lost]" photo by Kay HopkinsOne of the most conceptually original pieces of choreography was the opening of Eric Biss’s “I Didn’t Know I Was [Lost],” by Avicii – “Wake Me Up.”

The piece in its entirety captured the spirit of the song, but the first few moments set the story perfectly. A spotlight illuminates downstage. A dancer finds her way into the light, as if finding new ground, a look of wanderlust in her eyes. Then she owns the stage. Her arms construct strong architectural shapes. Another dancer bounds into view on the periphery of the spotlight. The dancers are mirrored in position, but their movements contrast as if challenging one another. In turn, one dancer leaves the pool of light and another replaces her, as if she too is on a path of self-discovery and establishing inner strength.

Danceworks Fall concert was as visually arresting as ever.




Photos taken by Kay Hopkins:


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