Orchesis Dance Company’s fall 2023 show was an amazing showcase of students' talents and creativity. The collection of pieces covered a large range of topics and this served well in creating a dynamic and engaging show for audience members.
The stage crew did a phenomenal job with the lighting of each piece as well as the spot-on timing of the music queued for each piece. There were no moments of mistakes noticeable so viewing as an audience member every dancer who performed felt very committed. It was easy to tell that the members had practiced diligently for this show.
The front cover of the show’s program. Photos courtesy of Ellie Harshbarger.
Orchesis Dance Company (ODC) held their showcase on November 10th, 11th, and 12th.
Each show lasted for about an hour and there were six students who choreographed the eight pieces in the show, including the end dance which was a fun-filled piece to showcase all the students involved in a creative and casual way instead of a traditional stage lineup and bow.
A moment from the final piece of the show.
The cast and crew of the show was made up of twenty-four Ohio Wesleyan students with each playing a key role individually, whether they took part in the dancing, lighting design, sound board, or stage crew.
A standout section of the show was the piece “Ring of Roses” choreographed by senior Alyssa Head, who gained inspiration from the Edgar Allen Poe poem “The Masque of Red Death.”
The piece included both displays of beautiful and soothing ballet techniques while also incorporating dance elements that showcased common movements found in horror genre films. The juxtaposition of the two kinds of body movement created an eye-catching piece that held everyone’s attention until the piece finished.
From the dance “Ring of Roses”.
The dancers in this piece included Kyleigh Beck, Grace Frye, Gillian Murray, and Isabelle Tinti-Kane. Without the skilled movement and impeccable facial displays of these performers, the piece would not have shown through in the way it did.
The performances of the show had a diverse span of messages and images throughout. A piece that showcases some opposite themes of the “Ring of Roses” piece was Sarah Ramey’s choreographed piece “I See Stars.”
Although this piece kept the drama and tension building within audience members there was also a very fun and upbeat element to this dance. The movements in this piece were much smoother and there was a big continuous movement of the dancers being really close together and then really separated from each other.
Very cheerful music and colorful lighting was then followed by very somber music and dimmer lighting. In the program note Sarah Ramey, artistic staff for ODC, states “The finished work is a collage that highlights the tension between our desire to be fully known and the limits of fully knowing another person. Despite the tension, we keep racing toward each other.”
Photo of "I See Stars" courtesy of ODC's instagram.
A piece that did not build any sort of drama and tension and just gave the audience an experience of happiness and joy was junior Grace Frye’s choreographed piece “Four Letter Word, Second Letter U.”
In this piece the dancers wore bright pink and orange outfits with purple socks. These bright outfit choices set an upbeat mood for the piece that audience members immediately felt and the background lighting only complemented these selections.
Photo from the piece “Four Letter Word, Second Letter U”.
The dancers wore tap shoes and moved in a carefree way, yet everyone was still in sync. Frye, shares about her positive experience in Orchesis.
“This is my third year being a part of Orchesis and my second year as a student choreographer. After leaving the competitive dance world after graduating high school, I never thought I’d dance again. That was until I saw a flier for casting for Orchesis during my first week on campus my first year. My experience at Ohio Wesleyan would be close to nothing without Orchesis Dance Company. I’ve met my people through ODC.”
To put together such a beautiful and moving collection of dances the cast and crew of the show held close relationships and held immense care and love for one another. Senior Isabelle Tinti-Kane, who has choreographed for ODC for two shows, shares one of her most memorable moments from this year.
“On the final night of the show, I found myself backstage with two of the other seniors in the company, all of us watching 'I See Stars'. One of us, moved by the dance, started to cry, and the other two moved to comfort them, also beginning to weep. We stood in the wings, arms around each other, heads resting on each other's shoulders, watching our friends dance on stage, living and breathing that moment with them. Even as we cried together, we laughed together. We move, and we move each other. That, at its heart, is what Orchesis is.”
The performance of Orchesis this Fall was a highlight, something not to be missed. If watching the show sparked an interest in wanting to be involved in dance here at Ohio Wesleyan there are multiple options to participate.
First is taking a dance course. Next semester owu is offering five different courses you can sign up for. These include: DANC 100 2: Studio Topics: Ballet; DANC 100 2: Studio Topics: Contemporary; DANC 105: Introduction to Dance Studies; and DANC 305: Dance History which also has a writing credit option.
If taking a course doesn’t sound like something of interest, the campus also has four different dance groups that will be active next semester. These include: Terpsicorps, a student-run dance group that puts on a show in the spring (contact Ali Dix), OWU Rhythms, a student-run tap dance club (contact Grace Frye), Battling Elite Stars, a majorette dance team (contact Simone Ntezinde), and Reality Remix, a K-Pop dance group (contact Kaylen Brandt).
The campus offers a wide variety of ways to get involved in dance if it is something of interest. If dance is something not of interest to physically participate in there are always stage crew opportunities or attending the shows and events of the dancers can help show your support and investment.
The Ohio Wesleyan Performing Arts events can be found on the owu.edu website, or for further information the Associate Director of Music, Frank Chiou, can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.