Exploring the Interplay of Body and Spirit

Student choreographers and two faculty members present their latest work—including a recent regional prize-winner—in the HSU spring dance concert, “Soma Spiritu,” opening Thursday, April 7 for two weekends in the Van Duzer Theatre.

To express relationships of the body (“soma”) and spirit (“spiritu”), the HSU choreographers employ a variety of styles and thematic starting points, within the idioms of contemporary dance.

“Lauren Baker is a dance major with strong ballet training,” said Sharon Butcher, dance concert director and head of the HSU dance program. “Her dance titled ‘Impulse’ explores how a dance can use time, rhythm and space in a well-crafted composition, danced beautifully by her dancers.”

How do social problems affect us, physically and spiritually? Claire Patterson takes a dramatic approach in her solo dance about the oppression of women in the arts. It was judged to be among the top ten dances presented at the recent American College Dance Association Western Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Emily Mensing uses comedy to puncture pomposity in her dance, “Idiosyncrasy.” Lisa Drew examines the contemporary obsession with time. Moira Winchell, Kassie Guimapang and English exchange student Megan Newbold explore conflicts within an individual. Jonny Wisan presents a spiritual narrative from the Virgin Mary’s point of view.

Jazz and ballet teacher (and frequent Ferndale Rep choreographer) Linda Maxwell explores the range of jazz in dance from the 1920s until today. Sharon Butcher evokes her family’s Appalachian past. “One of my earliest memory of my mom was watching her getting ready to go square-dancing,” Butcher said. To honor her mother who passed away in January, she is reviving two sections of her five-dance suite, “Roots and Tubers.”

Dancers will be selling raffle tickets, and a silent auction will be held on the second Saturday of the run (April 16) to help support the dance program and especially to cover expenses of participating in the regional dance conference. “The spring dance concert and the American College Dance festival are the two most important things that this program does,” Butcher said.

“Soma Spiritu” is presented Thursdays through Saturdays April 7-9, 14-16 at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday April 17, in the Van Duzer Theatre on the HSU campus. Tickets are $10 general/$8 students and seniors, with a limited number of free tickets for HSU students at each performance, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. More information: HSUStage.blogspot.com. Produced by HSU Department of Theatre, Film & Dance.