CMU - Best Critique Winners! Mot and Tara

Review of Take My Heart by Mot Xayabath

In the concert, there was this one piece that brought me near to tears even after the many times I have seen it. A performance that brought both the arts of live singing and dancing to the stage. A piece titled Take my Heart, choreographed by a student choreographer, Rochelle Kwasniewski. The piece begins in darkness, later on, dimmed lights are brought up, showing five couples. As this is happening, the singers begins to sing in a beautiful harmony. Each dancer is paired with a singer, each couple with their own story. However, it is not the story that brings me to tears.  Instead, it is the alluring vocals of the singers and the simple yet delightful movements of the dancers.

            The choreographer did a wonderful job creating movement that fit exquisitely with the lyrics. Each movement felt like there was intention and meaning. One movement done by a dancer, Jazmyn Phillips, was embedded in my head since the first time I saw it. The movement was this in place slow motion run in one place, like the one seen in movies, but this was done by the dancer, not with the help of computer programs. The movement looked simple and quite easy to replicate, it looked easy, but it is not. As a dancer myself, I tried to replicate the movement and had quite a difficult with it. When I asked to Jazmyn how the movement was done, she explained that it was done through the articulation from the ball of the foot to ankle to the heel. In my opinion, the movement was executed flawlessly by Jazmyn. The movement seems to represent the struggle that a person goes through daily. The feeling of moving forward, going to better place, an improvement to movement felt like there were intentions behind it and each movement with a meaning to it. One movement done by a dancer, Jazmyn Phillips, was embedded in my head since the first time I saw it. The movement was this in place slow motion run in one place, like the one seen in movies, but, this was done by the dancer, not with the help of computer programs. The movement looked simple and quite easy to replicate, it looked easy, but it is not. As a dancer myself, I tried to replicate the movement and had quite a difficult with it. When I asked to Jazmyn how the movement was done, she explained that it was done through the articulation from the ball of the foot to ankle to the heel. In my opinion, the movement was executed flawlessly by Jazmyn. The movement seems to represent the struggle that a person goes through daily. The feeling of moving forward, going to better place, an improvement to our current life, but as we stop and look back, its been in one place; one step forward, two steps back.  There are many wonderful things to say about this piece; being my favorite of the show is one, but if I am to say all that I want to say about the piece in one word it would be, beautiful. 

Review of Jane Eyre by Tara Kelso

Alicia Laumann depicted the story of “Jane Eyre” in her piece. The piece began with twelve dancers dressed in white flowing dresses on a coolly dim lit stage, creating the effect of wind with their waving movements of the arms. The spectacle was increased when Jane Eyre, played by Allison Duncan, came onto the stage shivering and dressed in a dark overcoat that had a long cape on the back, which appeared to be blowing in the wind. As Duncan stumbled onto stage with her face nestled in her arm she continued to set the scene for this windy landscape. When the intense rumbling Cello comes to an end the wind dissipates, birds begin chirping, and the scene is now lit with warm colors.  Mr. Rochester (Bryan Carlson) comes out to see the damsel in distress lying lifelessly on the ground. He awakens her and they immediately fall in love which is shown through the ensemble forming two lines upstage where begin twirling with their flowing dresses held up to create a chipper scene. As Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre continue their introduction, we see that her hands are chained as she lets out her frustration through frantically battements in around the stage, but her hands are set free when Mr. Rochester kisses her. Just when one would think they are to live happily ever after Mr. Rocester’s insane wife, Bertha, comes slithering on the stage. Suddenly we see a split between a coolly lit stage left where Bertha takes her entrance, and warm lighting stage right, on the newly in love couple staring deeply into each others’ eyes.  As Bertha psychotically walks over to meet Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre she begins to try to attack Jane Eyre. We see an interesting moment between the three while the man keeps the two women from meeting by constantly pulling Jane Eyre’s innocent curious self back and pushing Bertha’s rage away.  Then as Jane Eyre pulls away the audience sees a mirrored duet performed between Bertha and Jane Eyre. Even though the two are doing the same choreography, Jane Eyre’s movement has a taste of heartbreak enclosed in it, and Bertha’s has intensity and anger within it.  However Bertha breaks off and does a running diving jump into the ensemble’s arms, symbolizing her jumping off the house to her death, and Jane Eyre breaks away to find Mr. Rochester injured from the fire his now dead wife set to the house. Jane Eyre forgives him and they get up and dance a beautiful pas de deux together. Allie Duncan’s movement is flawless, with her long flowing arms, perfect arabesque balances, and overall gracefulness she puts into the ballet sequence. After one’s eyes are indulged by the lightless of the jumps and lifts the duet accomplishes, we hear wedding bells ringing, and we see the lights fade out to Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester swaying in each other’s arms.