“RE: flect | peat | dact | start,” the winter concert of Ohio State’s Department of Dance, is set to highlight each of those principles of movement — reflect, repeat, redact and restart — in the MFA and BFA works of nine choreographers when it premieres Friday.
One of these includes a 20-minute work from MFA candidate Jill Guyton Nee, composed of nine vignettes, each which explores humor and tender awkwardness through humor.
“Overall, there’s a ‘Saturday Night Live’ feel, with different skits back-to-back,” Nee said. “It’s very theatrical in that sense, using texts and vibrant costumes.”
Nee said she researched physical comedy, stand-up and musical theater for the piece. She said she began working to rehearse it in August, but began developing the concept long before.
“It started a few years ago when I started to realize that I was a socially awkward person and became accepting and embracing of that instead of allowing it to be a weakness,” she said. “I started to observe people at parties and saw that I wasn’t the only person who didn’t know what to do in certain situations and I saw social tendencies of what is taboo versus what is expected of someone. I really love awkwardness. I think it’s a part of everyone’s life and so I wanted to embrace it and celebrate it and allow it to be something that we can laugh at instead of hide from.”
She titled her work “pardon the interruption,” to reflect the fact that ideas don’t last very long, and the performance is constantly being interrupted to explore new ideas.
Several others works, with choreography and performances by BFA students, are also set to be performed at the show.
Elyse Morckel, a fourth-year in dance, choreographed a piece for 12 performers. She said she created a numerical system for her performance, made up of six arm gestures.
“It’s very system-oriented, very mathematical,” she said.
The costuming was important for her work, and she said she designed simple, uniform costumes to make the performers more anonymous.
“I’ve shown the work-in-progress to peer advisers and my faculty advisers, and a lot of people are seeing this idea of conformity and unified movement being really pushed into the audience’s eye and maybe makes you think of the ways that we are conforming on a day-to-day basis. The piece is really repetitive and it almost gets mundane to a point … but originally it was really about highlighting this system of six-gestures and their patterns,” Morckel said.
Colleen Leonardi, a Columbus-based yoga and dance teacher at Yoga on High, located at 1081 N. High St., choreographed a solo piece for the show called “Thoughts in my Lungs.” Her work is based off of the fact that her performer, fourth-year in dance Ella Matweyou, is interested in yoga.
“We plumbed the yoga practices and postures for their essence and took those basics of a posture and explored them through movement,” Leonardi said.
The title was a play-on-words Matweyou derived from the concept of chakras, the way one’s mind is isolated to different areas of the body.
“In terms of the lighting, costuming and the way it all came together is very evocative of something very intimate and meditative,” Leonardi said.
The show is set to be performed at the BalletMet Performance Space at 322 Mt. Vernon Ave., at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, along with a 3 p.m. showing Saturday. Tickets cost $5 for students, faculty, staff and alumni, and $10 for the general public.