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DPP prepares to go to ACDA in March

By Annie Goodman
On February 14, 2017

Haley Jordan, the soloist for Keith “Skip” Costa’s untitled piece, displays her patriotic dance costume. The costume was designed by Rebecca Miller.
Annie Goodman/The Lion's Roar 

The dance program has selected two works to be presented to The American College Dance Association.

Through an audition, student choreographer John Duplantier’s piece was chosen to represent the university.

“My piece is titled ‘We,’” said Duplantier, a senior general studies major. “It is actually based on the first dance from ‘Bayourella,’ which I also choreographed. It is now entirely different because there’s no giant dock. So, there’s a lot of obstacles that are no longer there. It is about relationships between people. Not romantic relationships necessarily, but just how relationships with different people take on different phases. How they take on moments when people agree, moments when they disagree, moments when they clash within, those kinds of moments. It’s moments when they separate, moments when they’re together and then moments when they don’t know what they want and they know what they want. It’s a little vague, but the work is sort of poignantly posed at that kind of vague stuff in relationships and showing what that’s like without words.”

Director of the Dance program Keith “Skip” Costa will also be presenting a piece.

“The name of the work is untitled,” said Costa. “Our concert this semester is untitled. I wanted to leave it open for your own interpretation. It’s a non-political, yet a political piece to some degree. It’s predominantly about the history, presence and symbolism of the American flag. That’s where it stems from and how readily it’s available if you’re looking for it, and if you forgot it was there, it’s always been there. I tried to cite throughout the work these little moments in time as a reference through text, there’s spoken word, and through dance. The song is instrumental.”

The previous Director Martie Fellom’s legacy lives on in her students.

“Our old department head, Martie Fellom, is one of my major inspirations in choreography and dance,” said Duplantier. “Dr. Fellom was the beginning of this idea that you could use ballet, which is a very formal kind of dance, to express things that are not formal. Like with the piece I was talking about earlier, with the vagaries in relationships and things that actually happen between people. You can’t just get up and do a rond de jambe and say, ‘Okay, that’s part of our relationship.’ It doesn’t work like that. The movement expresses and says stuff that you can never fully say if you’re bound by these boxes of how ballet is supposed to be done, how modern is supposed to be done, how contemporary is supposed to be done or whatever genre is supposed to be done.”

Costa has multiple inspirations as a dancer and choreographer.

“What inspires me, personally, is that intimate moment of expressing yourself and connecting with another human being,” said Costa. “Sometimes we’re more emotional than others, a lot more emotional than others. It’s just the realness of who we are and to be able to express that, and for the audience or the students to really understand it and incorporate it in their own choreography or in what the they do in life, even if it’s outside of the dance studio. That’s inspiration to me. Another thing that inspires me is my family. I get a lot of inspiration from them. More specifically, my maw maw who passed away five years ago. She’s still constantly inspiring me, and she was the one who inspired me way back when.”

The Dance Performance Project will be going to ACDA in March to present these two pieces in competition.

“ACDA has been around for near 40 years and is based out of Maryland,” said Costa. “It’s a four day event in which students from all over in university dance programs can participate. You take classes in the mornings. You see concerts at night in which the judicatures give feedback usually the next day. It’s a time where you can see on stage what’s happening in other universities and what’s defining dance as an academic field of study.”

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