On Saturday Nov. 7, the Dance Department held Fresh Space, their annual performance of collected “works-in-progress” and finished works by students, faculty and the greater Northfield dance community. Heather Klopchin, Associate Professor of Dance and the choreographer of Companydance, directed the performance and performed the final work of the show. Klopchin has been in charge of directing Fresh Space in recent years, and has noted the Northfield Community’s increased involvement since the start of Fresh Space.
“Fresh Space is an opportunity to bring the Northfield Dance Community together. We have 14 works performing in this year’s show,” Klopchin said.
The Northfield Dance Academy performed a work called “The Tempest,” choreographed by Daphne Mccoy. The students from her Modern II Class at Carleton also performed in the dance with the Academy’s students. The dancers captured the idea of “summer tempest winds” as they swayed across the floor, picking up the younger dancers and racing across the stage to Vivaldi’s “Summer Presto.”
The Academy dancers were young girls wearing bright colors, and the Carleton dancers were clad in all black, creating a fun and energetic effect.
Klopchin listed the dance styles featured in the show, “ballet, modern, contemporary, American vernacular dance, hip hop and Turkish dance” in addition to the St. Olaf students showing their Junior Preview works. The St. Olaf Dance Department company Veselica performed dances from the Gazientep Region of Turkey and a work that features a variety of vernacular dance forms choreographed by guest artist Karla Grotting.
In the Turkish dances, the performers wore traditional Turkish clothing, and danced with an incredible amount of skill, as they held onto each other’s arms and danced in a line, a circle and two lines with incredible synchronization and precision.
Ruckus, the Hip Hop dance troupe, performed “Buzz,” which was choreographed by Abe Awes ’18. Awes often led the dance, but the group of six was perfectly in sync, at times acting as though they were watching something fly over the heads of the audience, and at other times forming a perfect pyramid formation with Awes at the peak.
Other performances, such as “Inside These Walls,” which opened the show, featured a more contemporary style of dance, and the dancers brought forward an incredible sense of raw emotional expression as they ran into each other, carried each other, fell to the floor and ran across the stage. Another contemporary dance, choreographed by Cecilia Wall, presented the same sort of accute emotional feeling, as it was “about unbalanced relationships, and how that dysfunction affects both people.” The title of the dance is “How Much…” It too was rich with emotional depth, and the dancers excelled at expressing how awkward and unpredictable relationships can be.
There were a few solo works as well. “The Hours Unmake” was written and performed by Snow ’18 as well as a violinist. Snow wrote the music, which was spontaenous, rhythmic and beautiful. The artist’s inspiration was their decision to move from classical dance to contemporary.
“I’ve danced since childhood, and I wanted to explore my major through dance and music by experimenting with ballet and going toward modern dance,” Snow said.
The sophomore is a CIS major, which, for them, includes music, dance and filmmaking. Snow wants to promote artistic collaboration among departments, and that was their reason for integrating the violin in the work. Snow saw this opportunity to share their creativity as a way to explore ideas for their senior project.
Another solo, named “Run,” was choreographed by Vera Lochtefeld ’16 and performed by local dancer Emma Thompson, and the solo that closed the show was “A failing/falling,” choreographed and performed by the director of Fresh Space, Heather Klopchin.
“I originally created and performed this piece in 2008 to celebrate my undergraduate alma mater, SUNY Geneseo,” Klopchin said.
It was a masterful closing to an artistically thoughtful show. She said that the piece has since been set on St. Olaf alum, Sarah Steichen ’08, and soon to be set on a Carleton College senior as part of their senior project. Fresh Space was a wonderful show and it represented the dance community of Northfield as an important contributor to the proliferation of the arts in this Malt-O-Meal town.