The University of Akron Dance Company presented its spring performances at E.J. on April 16 and 17. The show was a mix of different styles of dance, from traditional romantic ballet to contemporary and modern movement.
The dancers worked with French choreographer Alexandre Munz, who implemented his own unique technique for the piece, “Youth With Caution.” Also featured were original works by UA dance faculty: Robin Pritchard presenting “Breathe Together, Breathe Apart,” Tom Smith presenting “Elements,” and Cydney Spohn presenting a ballet piece accompanied by UA’s internationally acclaimed pianist, Philip Thomson.
“This was my first collaboration with the dance department,” Thomson said, who has been playing the piano since the age of 4. “I’m not used to collaborating with dance companies… usually I can completely ignore my surroundings, but this time I had to pay attention to the dancers for certain musical cues, it was very interesting. The whole thing was a very interesting experience.”
The diverse performances portrayed a variety of styles showcased over the weekend. A classic ballet number was followed by a contemporary movement piece involving shiny pants and straightjackets. Smith presented a thought-provoking piece about technology and the generational gap that preceded a modern piece representing the elements: earth, air, fire and water.
“I thought it was one of the best college dance performances I’ve seen so far,” said William Mira, the father of a dancer in “Elements.”
Also in the audience was Kara Stewart, coordinator of the Arts Administration Program. A professional dancer herself, Stewart said, “As always, the department puts on a fabulous show… the choreographers are spectacular, and the range of the work is very exceptional…. My favorite part is always seeing the individual dancers shine. You see them on stage and they just really bring themselves into the movement.”
The dancers that night ranged from freshman to seniors, and the spring 2015 show was successful in saying goodbye to UA’s talented seniors and welcoming the freshmen to the stage.