The dance department has put together a wide array of dance routines for their upcoming performance. Blink and you might miss them.
The Department of Dance begins 13 Dance Shorts performances Thursday. The show contains 13 short dance pieces created by choreographers and performed by Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts students. Susan Hadley, Department of Dance chair and creative mind behind the performance series, designed the event to showcase a variety of dance styles and techniques.
“It’s a taste of a lot of different dance styles. You’ll see on our poster it says, ‘If you don’t like one, wait five minutes,’ so it’s a bit like a buffet or a tasting of a lot of different ways of moving and different ways of choreographing,” Hadley said.
With a professional dance background and 30 years of teaching at Ohio State under her belt, Hadley said she was able to choreograph one of the shorts herself. She described it as extremely technical, filled with high levels of energy and athleticism, with four dancers moving closely together in a small space.
Abby Koskinas, a third-year in dance and one of the four dancers taking part in Hadley’s performance, said being part of this experience has been rewarding for multiple reasons, especially because this is Hadley’s last year of teaching before retirement.
“This piece is also really special because it was originally choreographed by Susan a few years ago for a different OSU dance event,” Koskinas said. “It has been such a rewarding experience filling the shoes of OSU alumni and bringing this work back to life.”
Hadley said all the choreographers are Ohio State faculty members, with the exception of Momar Ndiaye, a Senegalese dancer and choreographer and the department’s visiting artist.
“Part of Momar’s residency is to give our students a broader training in a wider range of movement forms,” Hadley said. “His movement very much reflects his deep understanding of traditional West African dance, as well as being a contemporary choreographer.”
Although Ndiaye has taken residency in the United States and has a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois, he said his African culture is a permanent fixture in his work.
“My African dance background is present everywhere. It’s part of my identity. It’s kind of influenced everything I do,” Ndiaye said.
In addition to the African dance class and two contemporary classes, Ndiaye is teaching this semester, he said he is presenting two shorts for the performance series, one focused on traditional African dance forms and the other incorporating both Western and African movements.
Hadley said that while the Department of Dance has focused mostly on ballet and European-inspired American dance, Ndiaye’s influence on the department is a part of its broader efforts to expand the variety of dances students learn.
“We’ve made a huge effort in the past five years to diversify our movement practice training for our dancers to include a lot more dance forms of the African culture,” Hadley said.
Ndiaye said his pieces in 13 Dance Shorts will provide an enlightening opportunity for not only the students, but also for the audience to witness.
“They see dance and art that happens, not just in the United States, but they are seeing dance and art that happens somewhere else,” Ndiaye said. “So there is an invitation into a world of globalization that is to be seen and watched and taken with open mindness and embraced.”
13 Dance Shorts premieres at 8 p.m. Thursday. The final performance will be at 8 p.m. Nov. 16. Each performance will take place in the Barnett Theatre in Sullivant Hall. More information regarding dates, times and ticket prices can be found on the dance department’s website.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the shorts were choreographed by Ohio State students.