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SMC Dance Company interprets artwork

Rebecca O'Neil | Sunday, November 10, 2013

Members of the Saint Mary’s Dance Company interpreted paintings through dance in the Moreau Center for the Arts on Friday.

Senior Bethany Tabor choreographed two dances in response to “Wall to Wall,” a piece by Ann Tarantino on display in the gallery. Tabor, junior Taylor Couillard-Rodak, sophomore Jing Zhu, senior Catherine Cislo and senior Alysha Zemanek performed the work.

“I think I’d title it ‘Contact,'” Tabor said. “The way the dance moved – it’s sort of formally the same as the paintings on the wall.”

Tabor, an art history and philosophy major, said she designed the compositions with Tarantino’s “lonely figures in unknown landscapes” in mind. The black fireworks of paint Tarantino applied directly on the gallery walls compelled Tabor, also a dance minor, to turn the work she has been doing for her senior composition into a hands-on experience, she said.

“I am writing my senior comp on dance in the art space,” Tabor said. “A recent trend in art galleries is to have dance companies come in and dance among the art work. It’s a new phenomenon in art right now, and I’m researching that.”

Tabor said her advisor, art professor Tiffany Bidler, believed Tarantino’s paintings could potentially enhance Tabor’s project.

“We’re all part of the Saint Mary’s Dance Company, and we’re dancing in a piece together for the show in February, and this is loosely based off of what we’ve done in rehearsals for that,” Tabor said.

Senior Katie Haemmerle said she enjoyed the piece because it portrayed themes that appeal to her particular aesthetic preferences.

“The artist, on her description, said that it was meant to convey sort of loneliness isolation and then sea life,” Haemmerle said. “I’m usually drawn to literature, art, poetry, anything with that sort of thing, so I liked it in that sense.”

Beyond the emotional connotations, Haemmerle said she believes dance itself offers an unusual medium to communicate ideas.

“A lot of people will perceive art as being something stationary on the wall,” Haemmerle said. “I think this is a good way to express that art and dance can be combined and integrated to form something that is not just on the wall. It provides movement to something stationary.”

Haemmerle said she felt the movement of the dancers reflected the intended movement of Tarantino’s paintings.

“I don’t know if I’m interpreting the dance correctly, but the way the dancers formed the cluster and then spread out – I thought that was a good way to represent what’s on the wall with the paintings and how they’re spread out,” Haemmerle said. “They created white space with movement, which is interesting

In fiction, but more so in poetry, white space has purpose. I feel like if you look at the wall, it does the same thing. It creates that isolation, and the dance I thought expressed the exact same thing.”

Contact Rebecca O’Neil at roneil01@saintmarys.edu