Faculty/Graduate Dance Concert 2020
all other dance projects + year
Choreographers: Kristen Marrs & Christopher McMillan
Budget for this Design Area
Comments by the Designer
I designed the lighting for 8 different pieces within Faculty/Graduate Dance Concert 2020. I decided to feature two of which in my thesis that were particularly strong and resonated with me as a designer, Organo Plano and A Course in Rigor & Cheese: Disney in Abstraction, choreographed by Kristen Marrs and Christopher McMillan respectively.
Organo Plano was the first dance piece of the concert that was a twelve-minute ballet set to J.S. Bach’s “Passacaglia and Fugue in Cm.” Like the music, the choreography was built on the exploration of common themes that recapitulated with variety as the piece progressed. To support this in the lighting my color palette mainly consisted of variations of white light ranging from warm to cool. This contrasting balance between color temperatures of light also visually represented the “call and response” nature of Bach’s music that is a staple in the compositional style of the fugue. As my color palette was fairly limited, the emphasis of my lighting was on the form of the light, and the variety of ways that I was able to sculpt the dancers in order to provide dynamic growth throughout the piece.
A Course in Rigor & Cheese: Disney in Abstraction is a seven-movement dance piece that explores the memories of our childhood and the wistfulness of looking back on them that I was ecstatic to collaborate on. Having worked as a lighting technician at Walt Disney World, I was able to draw on what I learned by working with Disney Imagineers and apply it to this work, while also adding my own flair. As the piece was heavily rooted in the abstraction of the feelings of nostalgia, the choreography was a mixture of both classical ballet and contemporary styles performed at the same time by the dancers. These dance styles were juxtaposed next to each other by the individual dancers having to achieve modern styles similar to Merce Cunningham from the waist up, while maintaining the integrity of classical point technique in their legs.
In order to the achieve seven unique atmospheres of the diverse musical selections,
I paired a heavily saturated color palette with a wide variety of form sculpting that allowed me to convey the essence of each song’s respective movie. The large amount of variety that I was able to achieve also allowed me to transform the environment seamlessly between sections. The first large dramatic shift was from an emotionally stimulating duet set to Pocahontas’ “Colors of the Wind” to a sinister trio for the villainous “Be Prepared” from The Lion King. To achieve this, the lighting for the former emulated a rich saturated sunset that faded into that of a dark, moon-lit night with stark white uplight hitting the dancers from the wings of the stage.
I was extremely successful in designing every piece of this dance concert. The largest challenge was only having one hour with each choreographer and their dancers to refine the lighting to the best it could possibly be. The preparation of doing most of the programming beforehand, combined with being able to quickly make adjustments and communicate with the choreographers led me to a successful lighting design.
Copyright 2020 William Borich