The Indiana Daily Student spoke with choreographer Elise Young, a senior showcasing her work “Alors on Danse” in IU Contemporary Dance’s New Moves showcase. The show takes place April 26 and 27 at the Wells-Metz Theatre and features 13 student choreographers.
Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
IDS: What genres and forms and styles of dance does the New Moves showcase present?
Young: That’s my favorite part about student showcases. This senior class, we’re all different. There are a lot of props being used, tons of different music. One girl is using traditional bohemian rhapsody type stuff.
My music is by ... Stromae. He’s really into the dance beat, pop, a little bit of rap. There are more traditional contemporary pieces that are slower, more lyrical, more emotional, more about the movement and prettier.
There’s another piece by one of the guest writers from Israel that has 18 dancers in it, which is a lot of people. It’s really strong. It’s really direct. It’s very interesting to see the differences between what she emphasized in the dance versus what we tend to emphasize in our own choreography.
One of my peers is more into commercial dance and jazz, and her dance is to the theme song of Austin Powers.
What’s the focus of your dance, thematically and formally?
For this dance, I really wanted to have fun and go back to why I enjoy dance. It has been interesting to learn about how art and dance specifically changes when you’re putting it in an academic setting. In this academic setting for four years, trying to standardize this art form, it can get monotonous. It can get restricting as well. I think I was just trying to go back to having fun, using the spectacle and entertainment aspect of dance that I love and that I have fun watching and that I have fun doing.
I don’t want to take this too seriously. I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on it to mean something super important or super heroic. I wanted to let go of all of those expectations to make something purposeful and just use dance as a way to unite my dancers and to help the audience just enjoy what they’re seeing and have that kinesthetic reaction, “Oh, this makes me want to dance and move.”
Everybody moves, and movement is what fuels all of life. Everybody can relate to movement. We have mirror neurons that when you see movement, you’re mind creates the same pathways in your brain that would cause you to do that movement. You’re going to have a really visceral response to it, and it helps you have a deeper emotional connection because it’s through a medium that everyone understands — movement.
What do you think this annual showcase contributes to the IU and Bloomington artistic community?
It’s definitely a show that incorporates the idea of community and variation. It’s a great place for members of the community to see something different, some of that spectacle. It’s an enjoyment of dance and a celebration of dance. That’s what we’ve all been focusing on.