Bare Bones Dance Theater, a non-profit organization from UC Irvine, recently hosted their 31st annual show “Between the Spaces” on March 9 and 10. The show on the final day was followed by a gala, where both the dancers and the audience members got to indulge in delicacies and delightful jazz music in a celebration of all the hard work put into the creation of the show. The overwhelming artistic expression illustrated within the concert was one only a few words can accurately describe. Aside from the beauty of the dancing, the show was also dedicated to London Monae Thibodeaux, a dance major who tragically passed away in the summer of 2017. BBDT dedicated the performance to her memory, a touching tribute to her family and loved ones. Internal strife or external conflicts became naked and exposed through the dances of the night and there was a chance to appreciate unspoken truths as movement became truly fostered within the hearts of the shows’ attendees during this euphoric experience. “Between the Spaces” gave birth to the ability to appreciate the beauty within differences, as well as a chance to express the variety that life has to offer.
Act I started with a tear-jerking solo in tribute of Thibodeaux, performed and choreographed by Alexis-Nicole Pineda. As she communicated feelings of extreme dejection at the loss of a dear friend, the ambience in the room was still. The audience held onto every passing moment captured by Pineda’s movements; with every single step, Pineda conveyed the depth of her sorrow at the passing of Thibodeaux. This sentiment was a memorable way to begin the show and captured the audience’s attention. Another emotional piece during the first act was danced by first year dance majors Kyla Chaney and Nola Gibson, choreographed by Molly Gray and titled “Love you forever.” The piece, according to Gibson, was about a “mother-daughter experience,” and how you “grow up as a kid, and your parents take care of you, but then your child ends up having to take care of you in the end.” As we saw a transformation of identity, this dance was synonymous with the human condition and the interaction with life’s most inevitable, unwelcome guest: old age. Chaney and Gibson truly worked together to transmit this powerful message, using each other’s bodies in embraces and lifts; Gibson explained how her favorite part of the show was in fact just that, working together with other talented dancers.
She said, “I feel like the rehearsal process was really collaborative with everybody. There was never any bad energy … I think working with our peers made it a really enjoyable experience.”
The Act II opening and closing choreographers got to showcase cultural themes, celebrating our differences. “Eo Mai ‘Oe E Poli’ahu,” choreographed by Lyndsie Mark and “Mi gente (A Call to the People),” choreographed by Edgar Aguirre, both highlight aspects of different cultures. The cultural inspiration of Mark’s piece was embedded within the programs given to attendees; she exposed a relationship between nature and movement. However, inspiration for choreography was found in many different places, first year choreographer Piper Bockstahler, created her piece, Dreamstate, after the process of lucid dreaming.
Bockstahler said, “I really enjoy the connection between dreaming and the subconscious, you reality and your conscious life and how those two connect. I wanted to depict something really dramatic and striking on stage that [showed] the conflict that two sides of your mind can have.”
“Hysterical (ly in love)” was an audience favorite within Act II. As the dancers emotions poured through their movements, the audience got to see unrequited love and its true colors. Second-year Samantha Scheller’s found inspiration in the experience of unrequited love as well addressing the gender stereotypes that exist within the social constructs of society.
Scheller said, “My inspiration came from personal experience of loving someone who doesn’t love you back, and pouring a lot of yourself to not get the same thing returned. [Also] when you’re in love you do crazy things, and a lot of those stereotypes of being crazy only fall to women and if men were to do the same thing it would be romantic or normal, and I wanted to address that as well.”
Audience members were treated with 17 pieces performed by dozens of undergraduate dancers from various majors and a dedicated production team for an enlightening experience. Yet, it is the outreach initiative and efforts that are the prime reasons to celebrate BBDT. The company honors the community at large offering dance workshops and performance opportunities to high school students in a college setting and even a summer scholarship. There was also an outreach performance of “Between the Spaces” on Wednesday, March 7, where students from different clubs from the community got to experience a collegiate level performance by college students. Overall, the gallant efforts of this theater company highlights their commitment to community service via an incredible art, dance.
The full list of choreographers’ names are featured on the Bare Bones website.