The Oberlin Review

Barnes Stresses Individuality, Expression in Workshops

Vida Weisblum

April 11, 2014

Filed under ARTS, Dance

Monica Bill Barnes, contemporary dancer, choreographer and performer extraordinaire, prides herself on quirkiness and fun — attributes which she eagerly shared with the Oberlin community last Saturday. She joined student dancers and non-dancers for two captivating workshops, each a two hour-long session in Warner Main. One might expect a dance workshop with one of New York’s most celebrated contemporary dance figures to be intimidating, even rigid; Barnes, however, maintained a refreshingly comfortable environment and came prepared with an exciting agenda. The workshop attracted participants from Oberlin College and nearby universities, plus two international attendees. Barnes, whose poise resembled that of Audrey...

‘Spring Back’ Revitalizes Postmodern Dance

‘Spring Back’ Revitalizes Postmodern Dance

April 11, 2014

“Sometimes [Warner Main Space] feels like a big cathedral; other times I’ll lie on my back on the floor and look up into the rafters and it’s like we’re all in a big upside-down ark,” said College junior and Dance major Silvia Sheffield. The performance space has seen generations of dancers, and the latest aims to honor the venue and its history. This season’s Spring Back show, Oberlin’s annual spring dance concert, is centered on the exploration of the human form and how it relate...

On the Record: Adenike Sharpley on Dance, Feminism and the Demise of Hip-Hop

On the Record: Adenike Sharpley on Dance, Feminism and the Demise of Hip-Hop

March 7, 2014

This Friday and Saturday, Essence will present Queens Rule, a dance performance that tells the story of hip-hop music and dance, from its roots in West African beats, through its activist beginnings, to the genre’s current commercialization. The show is particularly aimed at questioning how women’s bodies are portrayed in hip-hop, and how this objectification came about in a genre that at first was aimed at breaking down binaries of power and privilege. Adenike Sharpley, an artist in residence...

Thrilling Performances and Choreography Elevate Senior Dance Concert

Thrilling Performances and Choreography Elevate Senior Dance Concert

February 28, 2014

The Senior Dance Concert this past Friday and Saturday in Warner Main was an absorbing representation of Oberlin’s Dance Department. Featuring choreography by two senior Dance majors, the show was a creative production that combined elements of partnering, aerial acrobatics and contact improvisation techniques, demonstrating a broad skill base. The Senior Dance Concert was performed on a modified proscenium-style stage, and as with most Oberlin dance shows, the performance was greatly enhanced...

Student Dance Troupes Combine with Poetry and Song to Great Effect

Student Dance Troupes Combine with Poetry and Song to Great Effect

December 13, 2013

There’s nothing like good dance. Of course, there’s nothing like good poems or good music either, facts of which all-female hip-hop performance group And What!? seemed keenly aware with last Friday and Saturday’s Fall Showcase. The show neatly blended the three art forms, resulting in a mesmerizing show that combined art and talent with message. Despite featuring multiple media and several performance groups, the showcase in Warner Main never felt disjointed. On the contrary, it benefited from...

Fischer Gallery Hosts Mixed Media Collision

Fischer Gallery Hosts Mixed Media Collision

November 22, 2013

Last Saturday, SoundFarm, the concert series for improvised music, and Exhibition Initiative, the student-run visual art curatorial group, collaborated to create Counterpoints, a musical and visual improvisational show. The event, which took place in the Fischer Gallery, consisted of four acts. The first three acts were performed by two musicians and one visual artist, while the last act fea-tured one musician and one visual artist. The room was organized such that each act had a preset station,...

<i>Fall Forward</i> Gets Experimental with Mixed Results

Fall Forward Gets Experimental with Mixed Results

November 15, 2013

Fall Forward, Oberlin’s fall dance showcase which took place in Warner Main on Nov. 7–9, featured a number of Oberlin students performing pieces that drew from a wide array of styles, including ballet and contemporary dance. For the most part, the performances were tight and well-choreographed, but the show did suffer from lengthy lulls of overt experimentalism. This unconventional spirit was foreshadowed by the show’s opening piece, “Letting the Sweet Out,” in which College sophomore Alana ...

Bill Callahan Serenades ’Sco

Chris Herndon

May 10, 2013

Filed under ARTS, Dance

In an early stop on his first tour since 2011, veteran folk crooner Bill Callahan brought his baritone to the Dionysus Disco on Saturday, May 4. After an opening performance by tap dancer Flat Foot, Callahan rambled through 11 songs with a mastery that could have only been honed over his two decades of work. Opener Flat Foot’s act took place on a wooden platform on the floor in front of the ’Sco stage. The dancer, a small, scantily clad woman, performed with accompanying playback of four songs and an original track composed of tap and vocal loops. Beginning with Judy Garland’s “I’m Nobody’s Baby,” Flat Foot indulged an old-fashioned aesthetic that continued with Consuelo Velázquez’s “Bésame...

Spring Back Brings Talent and Wit

Sophia Bamert, Managing Editor

April 26, 2013

Filed under ARTS, Dance

This semester, Spring Back discovered its sense of humor, and that’s not to say that the dancing was taken any less seriously than usual. Under the direction of Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Holly Handman-Lopez, the showcase of student choreography, which ran in the main space of Warner Center from April 18–20, achieved surprising cohesion despite the wide range of pieces performed. The show opened with an absurd welcome song, sung by bathrobe-wearing College senior Sarp Yavuz and double-degree fifth-year Lisa Yanofsky, that warned audience members that the dances would not all be the same, and ended with the borrowed lyric, “We’re glad you came,” by The Wanted. Although this segment gave an initial...

Sneak Preview: Awaken the Wild

Abby Hawkins, Arts Editor

April 26, 2013

Filed under ARTS, Dance, Music, Visual Art

Could you explain the theme “Awaken the Wild” a little bit more? It’s very nebulous right now. Eli Clark-Davis: We’re going for an “enchanted forest” sort of theme — monsters, fairies, all the craziest creatures you could ever imagine. Evan Baker: Definitely. Animals are a big thing that have been in all of our designs. Our whole design aesthetic has been animal-focused. ... After Origins, we felt that that theme was way too nebulous and no one could connect with it, which was totally our fault for making something that was too heady, so we decided we wanted to bring it to something we felt was more accessible, that people could latch onto when they were dressing up. We always want to get people involv...

Innovative Senior Show Highlights Natural Connections

Sophia Bamert, Managing Editor

April 12, 2013

Filed under ARTS, Dance

Since their first year at Oberlin, College seniors Samantha Bergman and Nona Brown have been impressing audiences with their grace, agility and choreographic talent, on their own, in ensembles and as collaborators. Their senior show, What is it, then, between us?, which ran from April 5–6 in Warner Main Space, proved a fitting culmination of their college dance careers. The embodied collaboration among the ensemble of 15 dancers onstage reinforced the importance of this work as a collaboration between director-choreographers Bergman and Brown. With a script written by ensemble member and College junior Charlotte Istel, What is it, then, between us? — the title taken from a line in Walt Whitman's "Crossing Brookl...

Colors of Rhythm Celebrates Global Arts

Jarrett Hoffman, Staff Writer

April 12, 2013

Filed under ARTS, Dance

Celebrating diversity through performance art was the essence of Oberlin’s 17th annual Colors of Rhythm performance, held April 5 at Finney Chapel. The program was made up of 10 acts, each representing a different marginalized cultural group represented at Oberlin. In line with the history of CoR, dance was the most prominent art form on the program. Particularly impressive for their liveliness and synchronicity were the Umoja Steppers and Students of Caribbean Ancestry. The Steppers even took a cheeky moment onstage to challenge a previous criticism published in The Oberlin Review that they “didn’t practice enough.” Their strong performance certainly spoke to their preparation. While dancing dominated the sh...

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