Veselica, the international dance ensemble, put on a beautiful spring concert this past week. “Veselica,” meaning “celebration,” aimed to celebrate dance traditions from around the world.  The performance was called “Dance Abroad” and focused on students who studied dance while abroad, in addition to the traditional dances of international students.

Dancers wore the traditional costumes from each country or region, and had quick costume changes between songs, considering many of the members danced in a  majority of the pieces.

The Artistic Director, Anne von Bibra, created a beautiful and entertaining concert which flowed very nicely. Veselica is comprised of 14 members who were joined by two guest dancers, Jake Nehrbass ’20 and Clovis Curl ’21.

Each piece was preceded by images and background information giving more context about the place and or a voice-recording of a dancers experience in that place. This element contributed to the cultural understanding of each piece, making them more meaningful to audience members. Before one of the pieces, current St. Olaf professor of anthropology Andrea Conger spoke about her experiences in Veselica and her time studying dance in Russia, which ended up guiding her career path.

The group performed pieces inspired by the traditional dances of Albania, Russia, Latvia, Indonesia, Columbia, Hawaii, Tanzania, Madagascar, England, Uzbekistan and Georgia. Nearly every piece had a different choreographer and the large amount of time spent learning each unique dance was apparent. Some of the highlights included the Indonesian dance, Ratna Sari, which used micromovements of the hands and head to create a beautiful and impressive performance. The pieces from England were adapted by Veselica member Francesca Bester ’21 and focused on the fun and skillful traditional Morris dance.  In addition, the Zekari from Georgia was a wonderful, high-energy finale of the performance. The show was a great celebration of culture and diversity. If you missed it this time, be sure to look out their next performance.

If you are looking for dance performances coming up soon, the Companydance Spring Concert will take place May 2-4 at 7:30 p.m in Kelsey Theater. The First Year Dance Project will take place on May 10 at 4:00 p.m, the Inaugural Kyai Kembul concert takes place on May 12 at 7:30 p.m. Movement, The Camera, and the Creative  Process Showing is on May 13 at 7 p.m in Studio One and the Advanced Choreography Showing is on May 16 at 7 p.m.