College students explored modern forms of dance with the help of renowned dancers in a workshop on campus, April 20. Performers from Pilobolus dance theater visited OCCC’s Visual and Performing Arts Center, working with 18 students in a master class.
Pilobolus is a dance company that specializes in contorting their bodies into various shapes and movements. Shawn Ahern, Pilobolus dancer, said the group has been performing since 1971.
The founders were Dartmouth College students who formed initially just focusing on body movements, then simply calling it dance, Ahern said. The dance group still uses many of the same movements that were created over 40 years ago, he said.
Pilobolus dancer Jordan Kriston said she’s been with the company for five years. She said the group likes to host classes for aspiring dancers of all levels, including disabled students.
Kriston said that Pilobolus is great for people that don’t usually watch dance. Pilobolus focuses a lot on the group’s process and contribution to their own choreography, Kriston explained.
The participants in the workshop consisted of students from OCCC and the University of Central Oklahoma along with four Pilobolus members. The workshop was for students of all dance levels.
Cultural Programs director Lemuel Bardeguez said the workshop was free to OCCC students and $25 for UCO students.
The dancers began in a circle, where they all introduced themselves. Going on to a warmup exercise focusing on adaptation, with the pitter-patter of their bare feet on the stage, the students walked around in variant speeds and movements.
This taught the students to adapt to the other students around them and to their surroundings.
“If you don’t adapt, you won’t survive,” Ahern said.
They also did a lot of partner and group activities. The various exercises illustrated trust, adaptation, communication, leadership and movement.
The students did an exercise focusing on trust, where one student led another student who had his or her eyes closed into various movements around the stage.
Ending the workshop they split into groups and the students were able to create their own short routines, applying what the dancers had taught throughout the workshop. They then performed for the Pilobolus dancers.
This was OCCC’s first modern dance master class, said Linda Bosteels, Performing Arts coordinator. She said it was a great opportunity the school was able to provide for students to work with professional, touring dancers.
Bardeguez said he hopes to have a dance group every year from now on.
Pilobolus staged a performance that following evening, April 21, in the VPAC theater.
For more information about OCCC’s Performing Arts Series, contact Bardeguez at either email@example.com or 405.682.7576.