The University of Southern Mississippi’s Repertory Dance Company hosted “Exchanging Innocence: Site-Specific Dance Performances” to the Hattiesburg community on Sunday. More than 15 dancers performed, and the events were divided up into three locations around the Hub City
“Each piece is uniquely choreographed around the sites, providing viewers the opportunity to experience each location in new and exciting ways,” said dance instructor Meredith Early.
The first performance, “Infinite Youth,” was held at Lake Byron on USM’s campus. The dance included a feature piece, “Adante,” by Jacque Ibert’s Flute Concert, which was played by Caroline Kirsch, a freshman music performance major.
The piece was performed by three dancers, portraying a playful and friendly mood. All of the dancers were in unison with every motion, giving the audience a basis to process the conjoined movements. The performers wore light colors to establish the aura of youth and blissfulness even further.
The second event, held just on the corner of Bushman and Main Street in downtown Hattiesburg, was a unique one in setting and in essence.
The performers went from dressing in light colors in the first movement to switching to darker colors in the second sequence. The dancers, including junior dance major Jamel Franks, used the elements of their environment to their advantage.
“We are all made from dirt, and we are made from sin, but God looks over us,” Franks said. “I pretty much guided others through the dances and life struggles in my motions.”
The sequence was held in a dirt-and-gravel parking lot, with the dancers kicking around the dust and sand as they performed. The story behind the musical was simple.
Franks was a man with many interests in a few women. Through the movement, he chased the women performers, trying to help them with their issues and their problems, but had a certain one in mind.
In the end, it was Franks and just one woman dancer to be happily together.
It made inferences about relationships and trying to help the different people in one’s life who need guidance. The kicking and rumbling in the dust and gravel gave the piece a different perspective in terms of having more to see and interpret in a dancer’s motions, rather than just seeing the movement of a body. The dirt actually got on some sparse sections of the crowd, helping tell the story.
The third dance was between a male and female performer and was about the trials and tribulations that young couples may experience.
In the beginning, all was well through the piece. The couple danced in happy motions, and the movements flowed free through their bodies.
As they moved around the park and through the ups and downs of the relationships, they went through the motions of a companionship and what happens when lives intertwine.
Toward the end of the piece, the dances were mimicked from a 1930s classic couple, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The light- footed waltz showed the couple being in-sync, even if they could not match their emotional ties. The movement left just a dash of contemporary for the audience to bear, and the use of the space was necessary throughout the park