The blue glow brightens in the background whilst the dancers hold their poses, creating an aesthetically pleasing silhouette. The Spring Master of Fine Arts thesis concert, Converging Pathways, was presented last week at the Mather Dance Center. The dance thesis concert featured works choreographed by Carissa Bellando and Chun-Jou Tsai, MFA candidates, Karen Potter, as well as group works and solos performed by both graduate and undergraduate dance students.
Outside the Mather Dance Studio, crowds of excited family members, friends, and fans gather in simultaneous chatter, eager to slip along with the spirit and energy of the dancers.
In the first piece Sea Swept, choreographed by Bellando, the dancers’ costumes had thin blue sleeves to the side, drawing a beautiful imagery of the tranquil sea. The slow and suggestive movements illustrated states of motion and energy. The dancers formed a line and did a canon, with successive movements following one another, portraying waves in motion.
Following Sea Swept, the light gradually shines onto Chun-Jou Tsai, choreographer and dancer of the piece, who holds her pose in a picturesque manner in Soliloquize. The breath-taking moment captivated audience members.
From a behind the scenes point of view, Tsai explains, “The most difficult part of being a choreographer is to select the exact one thought and idea I want to make from thousands of ideas. It’s not as easy as paperwork.”
After a warm round of applause, Carissa Bellando holds the spotlight in her enchanting red dress and graceful posture in Rivela. As Bellando took on the role of a woman undergoing stages of acceptance, her effortless movements took the audience along with her journey.
They then transitioned to the next work from Dance Department chair Karen Potter, Plain of Passage. It featured both Bellando and Tsai, making it a very promising performance with a blend of their skills and talents. The dancers interacted with the movements of the other, revealing the close friendship they have. Mirroring one another, it conveyed the idea of reflection and connection, but in the end, with a final glance, they drifted apart from one another, stepping off in opposite directions.
The last piece, Time River, by Chun-Jou Tsai, had bright, colorful, costumes that were suggestive of casual style. The vivid colors flowed across the stage, like the streaming river.
With the ponderous rhythmic walking and the sliding movements along the floor, it conveyed a theme of time where people are passing in and out throughout moments in life.
“To make my dance moveable and touchable through the body language with the dance material is what I keep working on. With the audience, lighting and music on, my dance becomes alive,” said Tsai.
As the light dims with the closing of the final piece, cheers and whistles spread throughout the room, adding to the vibrancy of the dancer’s performance.