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Poetry, Prose Woven into 'Rap' Dance Performance

Poetry, Prose Woven into 'Rap' Dance Performance

Posted: April 19, 2016

Dancers performing in Buffalo State’s Rap, Dance and Spoken Word will convey concepts such as deception and transcendence not just with movement, but also with poetry and prose.

The 90-minute contemporary performance is the annual dance faculty-choreographed show that wraps up the Theater Department’s 2015–2016 season. Audiences have the chance to see Rap in four performances April 21–23 at 8:00 p.m. and April 23 at 2:00 p.m. in Warren Enters Theatre, Upton Hall.

“Every spring since 2009, the dance faculty has started with a theme and then built a performance around it,” said Joy Guarino, ’82, associate professor of dance, who choreographed Rap in collaboration with Janet Reed, associate professor of dance, and Carlos Jones, associate dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. “This year we thought we’d bring out the theatrical part of dance and go with the spoken word concept. It’s been different and fun.”

Ten student dancers are performing in Rap.

“Sometimes the dancers will be speaking on stage; other times the poetry or prose has been recorded, but it is woven into the performance,” Guarino said.

The faculty members each selected text that inspired them and put their interpretation into movement and choreography.

In Reed’s section, “Deception,” the recorded music has words interspersed throughout. In Jones’s “Transcendence,” Five Skandhas, a poem written by English Department lecturer Edward Taylor, helps illustrate the concept.

Guarino provided three separate dances for her section. In the first, “Shakespeare’s Imagination,” a tribute to the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the dancers will improvise quotes from the plays Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For her next dance, “Musings of a Moth,” she chose a Virginia Woolf essay, followed by the famous Maya Angelou poem Still I Rise, for the last dance simply titled “Maya.”

“We wanted the text not just to be inspirational,” she said, “but also integrated into our choreography.”

Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for seniors, Buffalo State faculty, staff, alumni, and other students, and $8 in advance for Buffalo State students. Purchase tickets at (716) 878-3005, in person in the Rockwell Hall Box Office, or online.

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