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A Cast Tale – Jennifer Archibald

August 27, 2009

I was very excited to see Jennifer Archibald‘s dance. Not only is she incredibly fierce, both in dance movement and in motivation, but she promised, as stated on her website, a piece that ‘uses her modern/contemporary background and incorporates classical technique, street, funk, and lyrical into a high energy performance. ‘ So I was eager to see this blend of techniques that I had not witnessed before. Unfortunately, it didn’t effectively deliver.

Credit: Arthur Fink Photography

Credit: Arthur Fink Photography

The stage was set with slightly swinging golden picture frames and both Jennifer and Tanesha Sumerset used them at the beginning to look through to the audience, and very rarely for the remaining of the dance. The first section was to slower music and where there could have been dancing, there was more pacing and sober glances. It was difficult to distinguish whether the dancers were trying to be fierce or sentimental and the disconnected emotions left me confused. At one point there was a series of partnered lifts but they looked awkward and disjointed.

However, the music picked up in the second section and the hip hop really began. The couple was incredibly clean and sharp and when the lifts began again they fit smoothly into the choreography, the confusion melted away and the intensity was profound. One could argue that I wasn’t able to process this unseen form of contemporary hip-hop, but I would rather say that the dance and blend had a lot of potential that it didn’t quite reach. Perhaps if she did not mix both hip-hop and contemporary but rather created an entirely new fusion where juxtapositional confusion wouldn’t be possible, the performance would have stayed amazing the entire time.

Did you feel that her performance was convincing?

Have you seen other artists combine hip-hop and modern/contemporary dance? Where have you seen it really excel?

Do you think it’s possible for hip-hop to be genuinely sentimental or will it always seek to be fierce? Can you have both?

In what room would you hang a framed picture of Tanesha Sumerset in your house?

Different Voices, August 7th, 2009
Schaeffer Theatre, Bates Dance Festival
Bates College, Lewiston, Maine

2 Comments leave one →
  1. jessicacabot permalink
    August 28, 2009 6:17 pm

    roadie, this is your blog, right? what a great idea! it’s the sort of one that could actually get a book deal, or at least, a column in a magazine deal! keep writing. 🙂 and keep dancing! i’m so glad you’re going after what you love and not giving up on that dream. it’s nice to hear!

    if you are not roadie’s blog, then this is slighty embarrassing.

  2. September 6, 2009 10:31 pm

    I’m enjoying the inventiveness of your concluding your posts with a list of questions for the reader. I haven’t seen that before, and it’s a terrific addition!

    Congratulations on your blog!


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