Experimental Dance Board (EDB), an entirely student-run dance group on campus, performed their Winter 2019 show in the Weitz’s large dance studio this past weekend. “The primary purpose of Experimental Dance Board is to provide a rigorous but inclusive outlet for student-choreographed works of dance,” said Margaret Anne Puzak ‘20, one of the EDB directors. Puzak first got involved with EDB her freshman year at Carleton and became a director that spring term. Coming from an intense ballet-studio background, EDB provided Puzak with the opportunity to continue dancing in college, and she continues to be a part of the company because of the “supportive atmosphere that allowed for so much creativity on the part of both dancers and choreographers.” Through EDB, Puzak has been able to dance in unique works created by her peers while also choreographing her own piece, an experience she found “just as rewarding” as dancing in someone else’s work.
EDB holds rehearsals for about ten weeks before putting on a show each term of entirely student-choreographed works. In this term’s performance, eight pieces were performed, and Puzak was especially excited by the wide range of styles from hip-hop to abstract modern dance with improvisation.
One piece that especially stood out was “Rise” choreographed by senior Tina Liu and set to “Dawn Will Rise” by Thirty Seconds to Mars. The piece started with a striking image of the five dancers silhouetted against the backdrop and began with only subtle hand movements. The transitions between formations were seamless and extremely fluid, and the dancers’ spacial awareness was impressive. The lighting in this piece was especially interesting and highlighted the vast skills of the tech crew.
Another piece worth mentioning was “one, two, one,” choreographed by Thu Nguyen ‘22 to the music “Heaven I Know” by Gordi. This work was desperate and dramatic as the dancers scrambled to grab each other’s arms—creating a beautiful tangle of limbs. The movement throughout was both powerful and fluid, and the whole piece was extremely moving.
The energetic finale, “jOrDAn,” was choreographed by Lewis Ching ‘21 and Vanna Figueroa ‘21 to “Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West and “Church” by Samm Henshaw ft. EARTHGANG, edited. “Choreographing is like painting with bodies, it it a process of discovery and problem solving,” said Ching. This hip-hop piece was extremely professional with intricate and complicated choreography executed in complete unison by the six dancers. A memorable moment was when one dancer effortlessly got into the shoulders of another where she then continued to dance using her arms.
The professionalism of the entire production was quite impressive and is a testament to the hard work of EDB’s directors, choreographers, and dancers. As this performance comes to a close, EDB has already starting the process over and is holding auditions for their spring term show. Puzak says that while the winter showcase emphasized a “dancer’s experience as a performer and an artist,” the spring performance will focus on the choreographer, creating “an inclusive rotation throughout the year.”