This year’s dance concert, fyoo zh en ’19: The Shock of the News, used physical movement to illustrate serious and personal topics relating to media’s portrayal of events and its consequences.
Every year, Baldwin Wallace University’s Dance Program collaborates with another BW faculty member to turn their research into a fully developed dance concert. In previous years, topics have consisted of transgender health in India and the social and mating patterns of squirrels. This year’s dance concert revolves around the media coverage of 9/11 and its effects on modern media.
The first steps in the development of this year’s dance concert started in April of last year, when research submissions were first reviewed.
Sara Whale, assistant professor of dance, dance program coordinator, and director of fyoo zh en ’19, reviewed numerous submissions ranging from geology to chemistry.
Out of these submissions, Dr. Brian Monahan, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice, was selected.
“We’re coming up on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, so that was one reason our topic was chosen,” said Whale. “It was also something that, because of all the talk of fake news, seemed relatable to society now, to a certain degree.”
The subject matter was also controversial and sensitive, she said, and often left the dancers exhausted.
“We found moments of pure joy last year, and there were no moments of joy in this show,” said Whale. “It was still emotionally driven, and the movement really reflected that.”
The movements were developed by student choreographers, who acted as assistant directors, researchers, and dancers for the piece.
Mawusi Nenone, a senior dance medicine and management major and choreographer for fyoo zh en ’19,” choreographed the pieces titled, “Serialized Dramas” and “American Spirit: With Us or Against Us.”
“I read sections of the research, and the quotes that stuck out to me I wrote down,” said Nenone. “Words that stuck out to me were, ‘serialized, American spirit, moral currency, newsworthy, buildings fell, and heroes froze,’ and I kept those words and quotes in mind when choreographing.”
One of the most challenging issues for the concert, said Julia Miller, junior BFA acting major and dance minor, was the depiction of issues historically rather than through recollections of the event.
“Besides Sara [Whale], in terms of the cast, the oldest people were five years old when 9/11 happened,” she said. “It’s interesting to see the next generation making art about an event that we didn’t understand [at the time].”
Fyoo zh en ’19 took place on February 19 in the Mainstage Theatre in the Kleist Center for Art and Drama.