Hope College’s Dance Department’s Striketime Dance Theatre presented “Dance for Children” last Friday and Saturday in the Knickerbocker Theatre. Striketime is a pre-professional dance company that provides outreach assemblies and performances for young audiences. Striketime aims to teach.
Company members include Gillian Bourke (’19), Taylor Clegg (’17), Abigail Daniels (’19), Catherine Dustrude (’19), Victoria Homann, Lachan Jaarda, Ga- brielle Johnson, Andrew Niedbala, Elizabeth Orians, Olivia Roberts, Emma Scannell, Emma Speers, Anna Smith, Xavier Smith (’18) and Andi Yost.
The Striketime performance was designed to provide an opportunity for children to experience live dance in a theatre setting. The performance was supported by the Maxine Debruyn Endowment and Hope College Patron’s for the arts.
Striketime company director, Nicole Flinn, shares the goal is to create a venue for children to take part in a formal concert performance experience with themes geared for a young audience.
Children in the audience were able to engage in dances that brought stories and learning to the stage through movement. The theme was “Dancing Through Art” as the variety of dances were inspired by visual art pieces. Museum educator Andrew Dell’olio acted as the performance tour guide, leading the audience through the history of the art pieces.
The first dance of the performance, “Interpreting the Dots,” was choreographed by Kathleen Dominiak Treasure, inspired by “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat, 1844. Through the use of pointillism technique, Seurat depicts Parisians in a park on the banks of River Seine of France. The dance created a story of what the painting may have been telling. The performance created an interpretation of figures within the painting, expressing tales of friendship, family and discovering love.
“Sunflowers Together” fol- lowed and was influenced by “Vase with Fifteen Flowers” by Vincent Van Gogh, 1884 and was choreographed by Maribeth Vanhecke. The dance celebrated Vangogh’s whimsical showcase of feeling and importance of community within his work. The performance explored the mood of the sunflowers and their connected movement.
While Van Gogh provided the children with topsy-turvy moment, the beat picked up in “Freedom in Congo Square” choreographed by Sharon Wong and inspired by “Congo Square – New Orleans” by Ted Ellis. In the Congo square, slaves gathered to dance and sing together. Congo Square was a representation of freedom of heart. Striketime dancers depicted the rhythms of jazz and the origins of African customs, rituals and traditions.
The show concluded with “Leave Your Own ‘Foot’ Print” inspired by “Converse Shoes,” a piece influenced by the technique and style of Andy Warhol. Pop Art artist, Warhol, is well known for his artwork inspired by America pop culture icons and for his printmaking process. Warhol’s affinity for shoes and footwear was prominent in his art. Nicki Flinn choreographed the ending piece that reflected the technique of Warhol with an upbeat spirit of his creative journey.
The next journey for Striketime dance theatre takes them to Adelaide, Australia to attend Dance for the Children International (daCi). The students will participate in intergenerational workshops and lectures with dance educators and peers from around the world.