On Friday at 7 p.m. and Sat-urday at 1 p.m., StrikeTime Dance Company performed at the Knickerbocker Theatre. The company’s main goal was to pro- vide children, grades K-6, an opportunity to experience dance in a creative format.
The performance, titled “Dancing Galleries,” was intend- ed to simulate a tour through a museum of visual art. Andrew Dell’Olio, professor of philosophy at Hope College, portrayed the Museum Educator and Tour Guide, leading the audience through pieces by offering back- ground information on particular art pieces.
The first performance of the night was “The Art of Degas,” which, as can be inferred from the title, featured pieces by Edgar Degas, a French artist famous for his paintings and sculptures in the subject of dance.
“The Art of Degas” was choreographed by Alissa Tolfussen and backed by the classical song “Primavera” by Ludovico Einaudi. Andrew Niedbala (’19) portrayed Degas during the performance, carrying on soloist Catherine Dustrude (’19) as if she were one of Degas’ ballerina sculptures. Other dancers in this performance included Marli Achenbach (’19), Gillian Bourke (’19), Megan Elseth (’19), Jennifer Lussenhop (’19), Claire Matera (’19) and Jazlyn Ruiz (’19).
The next piece, which was performed during the Friday evening performance, was “Mondrian Metro,” choreographed by Amy Bickley with the music “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie” composed by Clarence “Pinetop” Smith.
The piece was inspired by the art of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, specifically his neoplasticism art that consisted of a white base with a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colors, which are yellow, red and blue. The dancers’ costumes were either yellow, red or blue, and their movements matched the art’s pat- tern, which was projected on the screen behind the dancers.
The dancers of this piece included Owosso High School Dance Ensemble students Lillee Brock, Halley Bunting, Alyssa Coffman, Paige Enfield, Allison Goward, Kerrigan Harvey, Hailee Oszust, Khayly Patterson, Rachel Reinke and Paige Thornton.
Amy Bickley also choreographed “Harvest,” which was arranged and restaged by Nicole Flinn and featured the mu- sic “Wawshishijay” by Kronos Quartet. The piece was inspired by the oil painting “The Harvesters” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a 16th century Dutch painter and printmaker from Brabant.
The dancers mimicked the repetitive movements and behaviours of the wheat harvesters as they went about their daily tasks. The dancers-turned-harvesters of this piece included Dustrude, Elizabeth Orians (’18), Alex Pasker (’19) and Xavier Smith (’18).
The following piece “Color/Form” was a collaboration be- tween Angie Yetzke of Hope and Kimberly Schroeder of the University of Delaware and premiered at the University of Delaware Old College Museum Sept. 2015. This piece was prerecord- ed in a park, with the dancers using hula hoops while dancing. The music played throughout the video, shot by Carrie Morris, was “Temmie Village” (originally from the video game Under- tale) by A Cappella and “Earth- bound-One Theme” by Smooth McGroove. This piece included the full company.
The final piece of the performance was titled “Kandinsky’s Symphony” and included multiple pieces. “Kandinsky’s Symphony” was an original work by Nicole Flinn, the StrikeTime Director, and dancers and is inspired by the children’s book “The Noisy Paint Box” by artist Wassily Kandinsky.
“The Noisy Paint Box” was read live by Geoff Dick while videos of Kandinsky were shown in the background. After the videos finished, the next part of the piece was titled “The Blue Painting” and included five sec- tions, with each section based off different shapes projected onto an easel. Dancers of this final piece included Achenbach, Bourke, Rebecca Bremer (’17), Taylor Clegg (’17), Dustrude, Elseth, Matera, Niedbala, Orians, Pasker, Olivia Roberts (’18), Ruiz and Smith.
“My favorite part of this experience has been the creativity process,” said Orians. “Every dancer in the company provided input and choreography to the piece at large. And because of this, my favorite piece was en- titled ‘Pathways.’ It was the second installment of Kandinsky’s Symphony. I enjoyed this piece because we got to have artistic control over which pathway within the painting we chose and how we brought it to life.”
StrikeTime’s dance for children is a great way to introduce young students to the world of art. A slideshow of the children’s paintings was shown before the performance. Additionally, the piece “Kandinsky’s Symphony” was linked with the Zeeland elementary art program, which gave third graders a chance to learn about Kandinsky while exploring and developing their own creativity.