Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 4
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

‘TREE-SPEAK’ burrows into different dance roots

The minutes after the last performance of Whitman Dance Theater’s “TREE-SPEAK” were over-the-top.

Dancers in fairy-like costumes and street clothes lavished one another with hugs.

A few proud parents showed up with the requisite bunches of flowers and friends snapped picture after picture of the dancers in their colorful clown-meets-prostitute stage make up.

The photos, flowers and hugs marked the end of close to three months of training by first-time dancers and old pros alike.

While the chaos following a show is nothing new, “TREE-SPEAK” marked a new arena in one aspect or another for most of the dancers.

The performance, which consisted of four separate dances, brought together a wealth of different forms of dance and different sorts of dancers in the last hurrah of the semester for Whitman Dance Theater.

“Dance-wise, it was the most comprehensive [performance] in terms of the types of dance,” said senior Kate Greenberg, who preformed in three of the four dances.

The second piece, “Dhoom,” a hip-hop dance choreographed by senior Ozzie Angel that boasted a cast of over 25 dancers, brought both first-time and experienced dancers to the stage.

It was the first time this group of hip-hop dancers had ever performed.

For first-year Brenton Weyi, a first-time performer, his path to the stage of Cordiner was completely by chance.

“I was walking down the street and Ozzie [Angel] said, ‘Be in my dance performance,’ so I just followed him to the dance studio,” said Weyi. “We [Weyi and friend Adam Bronstein] were hella reluctant at first.”

But after months of putting in close to eight hours of work per week, both Weyi and Bronstein, their faces glowing, said they hoped to continue dancing.

“If there’s another hip-hop one, I’d totally dance again,” said Bronstein, a first-year.

It wasn’t just the first-time dancers who enjoyed Tree Speak.

“It made me totally fall more in love with dance,” said sophomore Lauralee Woods, who also danced in “Dhoom.”

Whitman Dance Theater is not a class. The majority of the students, under the supervision of Vicki Lloid, do everything themselves without earning any credit.

Dancers noted that this student initiative-based atmosphere breeds both a tight-knit community and unique dancing.

“We really lucked out with a great group of people,” said junior Kelli Kuhlman.

“What was unique about this semester was we got to have a fair amount of improvisation,” said Greenberg. “Vicki laid out some of the framework, then we got to fill in the framework with our own moves, make it our own.”

Whether in dance, friends or getting to perform, people enjoyed the novelty of “Tree-Speak.”

“I put on make up for the first time yesterday,” said Weyi, smiling beneath his colorful eye shadow and rouge.

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