Oberlin Blogs

Notes on dancing

November 9, 2008

Zoe McLaughlin ’11

I considered starting off with the obligatory I'm awesome and I'm going to write about my life post, but I rejected that idea. If you want to know more about me, feel free to look at my nifty bio. You're also more than welcome to ask me questions. That's what I'm here for.

At any rate, the point of this entry. About four weeks before spring semester was over last year, I decided to start attending the lessons given by SPARK (Street Performance and Rhythm Kollective), Oberlin's hip-hop and break dancing group. I came back this year, and I'll even venture to say that I've improved. Slightly.

(A note about my previous dance experience: I've danced ballet, and basically only ballet, since I was three years old. Trying out a new dance form, especially one so far removed from traditional ballet, was very difficult and definitely still is, but the challenge is good.)

This weekend, being parents' weekend, saw many, many events. The one I attended today was FELL, the 2008 student dance concert, which consisted of pieces choreographed and performed solely by students. I hadn't been before, and only knew that SPARK was performing. Beyond that, I didn't know what to expect. Let's just say that from a classical ballet sense I was shocked. (Dancing to no music? What?) It was a good kind of shocked, though.

The dances ranged from pretty standard jazz to hip-hop to contact improv to much more "modern" pieces. The sheer variety was fascinating to watch. Among the highlights were a dance done to the spoken word, a dance done to no music at all, and the finale - performed to "MMM...Bop." Yes, that's right. The song by Hanson.

Besides unique choices in music, I really enjoyed seeing the way the dancers' bodies were able to interact with space and with each other. My inner dancer was pleased, as was the audience. Everyone was very tuned to the performances - laughing, clapping, or waiting in hushed silence as was appropriate. I had a fantastic time being a part of that.

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