‘An Evening of Dance’ explores astounding events, daily life, art

“”An Evening of Dance,” directed by Yolande Snaith, combines the work of seven faculty members in the theatre and dance department, several designers from the masters of fine arts program, and the dancing talent of over 60 undergraduate students to explore modern ideas of dance. The collaboration of this diverse group of people results in an event comprised of seven distinct dance pieces, each with its own unique style and meaning.

Courtesy of UCSD Theatre and Dance

“Indian Summer” is a dance created by Allyson Green in response to paintings by George Inness. This piece attempts to bring some of his paintings to life on stage while being accompanied by poetic text created for the piece.

Jean Isaacs re-staged “Sweet Jeff,” a dance she made for her own company, for the show. The piece is a tribute to Jeff Buckley, the singer whose songs are the music for the work. Isaacs feels that these pieces “capture the quality of his voice … in four moods.”

“Point of View,” by Margaret Marshall, is the only dance in the show that could be considered “traditional ballet.” However, this piece moves away from the classical story ballet and instead is an “abstract interpretation of movement with music.” Marshall considers this piece a visual experience with extensive collaboration with lighting, costume and set designers.

Patricia Rincon’s postmodern piece “RushStop” is about how people today always run out of time. Rincon said that she was interested in how people would rush through the day just to have a few minutes to relax at the end of it, and that she created this dance to “examine popular culture’s multisensory multitasking through time and how we do not have much more of [time].” This is done not only through dance but music and video.

Alison Dietterle Smith’s dance “Inertia” is inspired “by the recent exploration of Mars and space.” This piece is a contemporary ballet, blending the ideas and concepts of modern dance and traditional ballet. This choreography is presented against the backdrop of a video that Smith herself created and edited.

“Chiaroscuro” is a term for light and shade in art or nature and is the title of Snaith’s work. This abstract dance-theatre piece is the “exploration of light and darkness both externally and [through] inner feelings of light and dark within a theatrical landscape.”

Terry Wilson’s work, “Seeing Through,” deals “with loss and the isolation loss can sometimes produce.” Wilson drew upon her own experiences, but allowed the cast to be involved in the choreographic process. Wilson wanted to make this dance because “modern dance expresses and comments; it communicates and it heals.”

One of the most striking features of this show is the use of other forms of art that might appeal to the viewer. As Leigh Schanfein, a dancer in both Smith and Green’s pieces, says, “[The choreographers] strive not only to create art or deliver a message through dance, but they also increasingly look toward technology and other media to add new elements to their work.”

“An Evening of Dance” runs March 11 to March 14 at Mandell Weiss Theatre. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for UCSD affiliates and seniors and $10 for students. For more information, call the box office at (858) 534-4574.