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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Life + Arts

Works inspired by blindness, unity presented


Students from UH’s School of Theatre & Dance rehearse pieces choreographed by fellow students during rehearsals in March. The event “Opus” took place at the Barnevelder Theatre downtown. | Emily Chambers/The Daily Cougar

Audience members squeezed into bleacher-style seats and crouched on the floor of the crowded Barnevelder Theater to see “Opus,” an annual show put on by students of the University Dance Theatre.

Most of the Wednesday-night event was available in preview at March Madness, but the small venue was still packed with eager students, dancers and society members alike.

Every dance was choreographed and performed by students, so the pieces themselves had a very raw power in their honest artistic expression.

A large ensemble dance entitled “Ready-made Systems,” choreographed by Teresa Chapman, premiered at Opus.

It began with the dancers in two lines, with each dancer stepping out of the line and performing a short, unique segment of choreography.

By the end of the performance, the individual movements had spread, leading to the entire group executing the same steps together, then slightly out-of-sync.

Chapman’s piece had obvious messages about the spread of an individual’s actions and the way that unity can be formed out of disparity.

Another piece called “Speaker Effect” was choreographed by dance major Katey Tidwell.

In this dance, a male and female duet interacted with a prop speaker on stage.

The effect of the speaker induced the female to dance while her male counterpart sat in a dreamlike state.

Eventually, she placed his hand on the speaker, and they both danced in response to the music and its influence on them.

“This piece is meant to show the power of music, as well as different ways to feel and communicate with one another,” Tidwell said.

She wanted the piece to reflect her previous experiences teaching dance to blind or deaf students and the ways of interaction that are used in situations where visual example or speech accomplishes nothing.

The School of Theatre and Dance will host its annual Kinesthetic Symphony, an ensemble dance concert, April 27 through 29 at the Wortham Theater on campus.

To purchase tickets, call (713) 743-2929 or visit www.theatredance.uh.edu.

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