By Samantha Plotner
Barnard’s Department of Dance has commissioned pieces from four well-regarded choreographers for the seventh season of The Barnard Project. The project’s goal is to connect Barnard students to these choreographers as they work together on an original piece throughout semester. This year, The Barnard Project is a part of New York Live Art’s inaugural season.
The show consists of four pieces; E Pluribus (choreographed by David Parker), Howl (choreographed by Ivy Baldwin), Jazz Out of Water (choreographed by Susan Rethorst), and Mass Observation (choreographed by Sidra Bell). The dancers are all students, though this is very easy to forget, as they dance with professionalism. These are also not the 3-minute pieces you might be used to; the show runs about an hour and 45 minutes with intermission, so each piece is around 20 minutes in length. The stamina to dance for that long is impressive in and of itself.
E Pluribus is the first number of the evening. The highlight was the trio who, for lack of a better term, tapped. I phrase it that way because the dancers were not actually wearing tap shoes; they were completely barefoot. However, it was a large number and all of the dancers handled the material gracefully. Howl was up next. It was technically impressive, but I couldn’t help but be mildly confused by the extended period where the dancers gyrated purposefully and breathed heavily. After a short intermission came Jazz Out of Water. There was a lot of partner work involved in this piece, which the dancers handled seamlessly. Last but not least was Mass Observation. This was the most energetic number of the night, and reminded me of some kind of fashion show from the future. Seeing The Barnard Project is a great way to support your fellow students or just have an excuse to go down the Chelsea, but if you are not interested at all in dance I wouldn’t recommend it. Because I danced for sixteen years, I could appreciate the technical skill and stamina required, but the modern choreography went over my head, which made me feel as if I was missing something.
Samantha is a junior at Barnard and Editor-in-Chief of The Nine Ways of Knowing.
Photo courtesy of New York Live Arts.