October Dance 2023 features the historic work Steps in the Street (from Chronicles) by Modern Dance pioneer Martha Graham. Created in 1936 during the rise of Fascism in Europe, this work captures a spirit of resistance and resilience that is powerfully relevant today. This iconic group work will be performed to live music by the American modernist composer, Wallingford Riegger, newly orchestrated by Dance at Illinois Music Director John Toenjes and conducted by Frances Ho.
Undergraduate student Nawal Assougdam’s family is from Morocco, a country recently ravaged by an earthquake. Her work features music and movement of the Amazigh Sous regions of Morocco and invites the audience to enjoy a pictorializing of the tradition of sharing a warm cup of tea (atay) – a staple in Moroccan culture.
Professor Cynthia Oliver’s new work captures the visceral and sonic reverberations riding in sound and throughout the body. Beats, breaks, drum hits, and rim shots collide to music by local musicians James Mauck, Mark White, and Jason Finkelman. The work brilliantly maps the complex inter-workings of being in a dynamic ever-shifting landscape of community.
Set to a new score by Elliot Reza Emadian, Assistant Head Anna Sapozhnikov asks the dancers to traverse deep memories. Heartbeats, bells, and other sounds of nostalgia interrupt and disrupt their paths, forcing them to careen and ricochet off each other into space. Time is the ever-present element, driving us forward and backward simultaneously and urgently and with constant surprises.
Assistant Professor Alexandra Barbier’s piece is a playful tribute to her memories of adolescent realms, recalling the movements and rhythms of playgrounds, bus rides, church fairs, slumber parties, and school dances. Barbier challenges the divide between audience and performer and offers an intimate experience of togetherness.
*On opening night, October 12, there will be a panel discussion, moderated by Sara Hook, Head of the Department of Dance, with Martha Graham regisseur, Elizabeth Auclair and dramaturg, Betsy Brandt at the Spurlock Museum at 6pm. This event is free and open to the public.
*Tune in to the Livestream on Wednesday, October 11 at 7:30pm