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ECU to host night of dance, di­ver­sity

Dance 2018

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Dancers rehearse “#MeToo,” one of the pieces to be presented during Dance 2018.

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BY MACKENZIE TEWKSBURY
The (Greenville) Daily Re­flec­tor

Friday, March 23, 2018

The students and staff at the East Carolina University School of Theatre and Dance are set to offer a night full of diversity and entertainment in McGinnis Auditorium.

The performance, Dance 2018, is an annual show featuring the works of many different dance genres — from classical ballet, hot and explosive tap, meditative movements and bold contemporary dances — and each work plays on different aspects of the human experience.

David Ingram, assistant dance professor at ECU, is involved in three different pieces throughout the show. He said the audience can expect to see many different varieties of dance as a whole, both with his individual pieces and the show in general, and some that offer a metaphoric way of looking at space and the body.

“When I personally see the show, I think of walking through an art museum — each painting has its own place and time and how it associates to the world and to us and how were existing presently,” Ingram said. “There are a lot of current concepts that are expressed.”

Ingram was involved in the performance previously as well, and praised everybody involved for working so hard to make it happen each year.

“It’s been incredible. It’s been short. I don’t see it happening without the motivation and the continuous efforts of the faculty and students at ECU,” Ingram said.

Marissa Nesbit, assistant professor at ECU, is also a choreographer in the show. Her piece is titled “NAHODISHGISH,” which is a Navajo term meaning “places to be left alone.” It is an abstract, slow and meditative work of art full of visual imagery; dancers will use stones and rocks to demonstrate a way of thinking about the land around us and how we use it. She said the dancers will break, stack and manipulate the stones and rocks in a series of images to illustrate her idea.

“Of course, it’s on a really abstract level. You may see that, or you may see something different,” Nesbit said.

For Nesbit, the inspiration for the piece was born because she knew she wanted to use a lot of visual imagery — mostly with rocks — in her specific piece. She said she started to do some research, and one thing just led to another.

“I’ve got a process where one image or idea prompts me to read or look at something that prompts something else which prompts something else until it comes full circle,” Nesbit said.

Her team, made up of ECU dance students whom Nesbit called “incredible,” has worked extremely hard on the piece. She said it’s been rewarding to watch the work go from just an idea inside her head to a real choreographed dance — and even more rewarding to watch her dancers grow in the process. She said the process has been collaborative from start to finish; she’d ask her team to come up with different ways to carry or move the rocks and stones, and the dance formed from some of those movements, combing the creativity and innovation of both Nesbit and the students. Nesbit is working with composer Adam Scott Neal to create the sounds, as well.

“I’ll go to one side of the studio and other dancers are across the room, and they’ll come up with something totally different that they need to show me. They find something new each time they create it.

“They are really taking ownership of what they are doing, really putting themselves into the process. It’s lovely,” Nesbit said.

Ingram said he thinks the performance this year is incredibly strong, adding that it’s always changing from year to year — an aspect that makes each show engaging.

“The individuals that are engaging in the work are continuously changing. ... It creates work that is alive and not works that are reproduced. It’s artwork that is being made in the moment versus a copy of artwork,” Ingram said.

Contact Mackenzie Tewksbury at 252-329-9585 or mtewksbury@reflector.com.

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