Often, it’s easy to overlook the immense planning that goes into an artistic experience. The music always seems to come at just the right time, costuming usually seems simple and appropriate, and excellence in performance is expected rather than acknowledged as an achievement crafted by the performers and producers.
However, when students present their art as a thesis to be discussed rather than as a straight performance, the exploration of these decisions and projects comes to the forefront of the work and sheds light on the complicated processes found in the most exquisite arts.
In the past two weeks, two University of Wisconsin Dance Department seniors presented full performances of their choreography to serve as honors theses. Elisa Hildner presented “She/Her/Hers” on Friday, April 5, and Dianne Kotsonis presented “Cultivating an Inexhaustible Supply” the following Friday. Both works looked at broader themes capturing society at the moment and supplied both the dancers and creator ample time for a talkback afterward to discuss their pieces. Both senior directors noted that the creation and cultivation of their thesis performance was a year-long endeavor.
Hey Grammys, elevating painfully mediocre, predominantly male artists is not a good lookAt this point, should any of us (“us” being people who have genuinely good taste) be surprised at The Recording Read…
While I did not have the opportunity to attend Kotsonis’s work, Hildner’s presentation was truly remarkable for one person to design and lead. For the 30 minute program, four pieces related to our society’s perception of femininity. The opening number, “La Prix de Femmes,” saw a group of dancers dressed in corsets and dancing in a seemingly Parisian fashion. Hildner masterfully crafted this piece to conjure up the stereotypical image of femininity that many women often feel pressured to achieve.
This work contrasted with “She is not Pink,” a piece Hildner has developed since a composition class last year. An amazing mix of spoken word poetry and choreography begin the piece before an introspective musical score sets in. Hildner’s geometric use of linework and placement sets our delicate perception of what it means to be a “good girl” in motion, literally.
Following a beautiful solo from Hildner herself centering on body positivity, the dancers finally emerged wearing pants for “In the depths of,” the closing number. This number was choreographed to exude stronger lines and precision compared to the other depictions of femininity, as it is intended to represent women’s place in the workforce.
Each dance highlighted Hildner’s artistry and built upon the other in a surprisingly linear narrative. While these senior performances mark the end of their producers’ times at UW, it is certain continued talent will continue to showcase their hard work at the university.