Necessity has led not only to invention but additional creativity for the H2 Dance Company’s annual fall concerts at Hope College, which will be featured as films at hope.edu/h2 on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 16-17, at 7:30 p.m.
The H2 Dance Company consists of Hope students and is one of the college’s premier dance companies, performing a wide assortment of styles by a variety of choreographers. The theme of this year’s performance is “In This Time.” This visual dance concert explores the various thoughts, feelings, and emotions surrounding both time as an element and this particular time in the world.
As with Hope events throughout the semester, the concerts are being shown exclusively online. Out of an abundance of caution due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no in-person audience.
Rather than present the concerts as a livestream, however, the company has opted to make the most of the opportunity offered by the medium by creating fully produced, pre-recorded films. Music and film projections will be featured alongside the company’s dancers. Multiple cameras and glide cameras will provide close-ups and larger sweeping views to present a unique view of the company. Some of the pieces have more than one cast, so the content will vary across the two evenings.
And although there won’t be an in-person audience this time, the cast is being treated to a large-screen opening-night showing at the college’s Knickerbocker Theatre. To add a bit of Hollywood-style flair for the students, the premiere will be preceded by a red-carpet arrival event featuring brief interviews with them that will be presented live on H2’s Facebook page, facebook.com/H2DanceCo, starting at 6 p.m.
“Dance as an art form has always found a way to thrive in difficult times; that’s what makes us dancers,” said Matthew Farmer, who is the Dorothy Wiley DeLong Associate Professor of Dance and department chair, as well as co-artistic director of H2 Dance Company. “When looking at this coming fall we dedicated ourselves not to ‘making the best of a bad situation,’ but rather to excelling and thriving in an unknown environment. This is the very thinking that led us to seek out alternative ways to present our work in medium that is both enjoyable and thrilling for the audience, while simultaneously being educational and beneficial for our dance students.”
The concert program will include:
“Rhythm Suite,” choreographed by Heather Cornell, which was originally performed at the Douglas Fairbanks Theater in New York City in 1986 by the original Manhattan Tap and was the first piece created by the company, which toured internationally for 20 years and helped to spark the tap dance renaissance;
“Reines,” choreographed by Jasmine Domfort, which showcases a community of women;
“Refu- G,” choreographed by Tracy Dunbar, which is about individuals venturing to find a new life for themselves;
“Firebird,” choreographed by Matthew Farmer, which retells the traditional firebird tale and combines both contemporary and universal themes;
and “Dieser Ort,” also choreographed by Farmer, which translates to “this place” and is a reflection piece.