University of Iowa Department of Dance presents the End-of-Semester Performance -- May 8.

Saturday, May 8, 8 p.m.

Presented by the University of Iowa

Dance fans are invited to enjoy an octet of powerfully expressive vignettes on May 7 when the University of Iowa's Department of Dance presents its end-of-semester concert, a virtual version of the school's annual presentation featuring seven graduate and undergraduate students showcasing their choreographic talents and boundless imagination.

Choreographed by Mackenzee Albert and Allie Recht, That's a lesbian thing? is a screendance exploring the lesbian identity and its presence within two bodies, while Katie Phelan choreographs both Continuum and Gamer. Regarding the latter title, Phelan says, “Gamer, inspired by arcade, video, and computer games of my childhood, is a research investigation of body, film, choreography, animation, and multimedia. The process of this exploration began in embodied movement by understand the ways characters and images moved within computer games. The film relied heavily of choreography within the editing portion of the process. The outcomes of the investigation we determined by the relationship between the body’s choreography and the post-production animation.”

Phelan also co-choreographs Transposed alongside Emmalee Hallinan, a work described as created “through a collaborative process that developed over two semesters with supporting course work in Choreography III and Choreography IV. The research of this piece is centered around suspending and transposing information of body, space, sound, and movement within process. In its first iteration, this work was shown as a site specific, live performance. Emmalee and Katie share this current iteration by way of screendance.”

With its choreography by Kyle Avers, Grin & Bare “addresses feelings of frustration with myself and my work that arose throughout my first year of graduate school. I found myself actively avoiding parts of my personal history with performance that are fundamental to my identity in an attempt to mold my image as a 'proper' movement researcher. In so doing, I created a paradox in which I no longer knew who I was or what I had to offer. I was sucking all the fun out of my own work. This dance is an attempt to reconnect those parts of my identity in a way that is both playful and meaningful.”

Dharmini Piekarska, meanwhile, has three pieces included in the May 8 event. The choreographer says that To Be Continued... was designed “to showcase the talents of artists of color at the University of Iowa in choreography, cinematography, and dance.” Her vignette “Roots, she states, “was made last year on Thanksgiving – which is a significant time to reflect upon things we are grateful for, so it's no surprise this piece manifested itself then. Late November is also significant to me for another reason; it's the time of Dancesport Nationals in England, where I competed for the first time in another country. Looking back, it was a time where everything seemed more simple and less stressful. The future seemed unshakable, and during these crazy times, I felt myself turning back to what is familiar – my roots.”

And Piekarska's final contribution There You Go “is about the emotional toll it can be to claim space in a society with so many double standards regarding where we ladies stand. A girl deals with many of the same things in her dance career that one does in life. This piece is a cross-section of life and dance and light and dark. Perhaps you will relate, maybe not – but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.”

The UI Department of Dance's end-of-semester event on May 8 begins at 8 p.m., and tickets for the free presentation are not required. For more information, call (319)335-2228 and visit VirtualDanceStudio.uiowa.edu.

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