In dance, a choreographer may invite a peer to give them critical feedback on their work. Using the information from the dance performance, Modules 1-4, and your personal experience watching the performance tell the choreographer how well their dance communicates its message to the audience and offers suggestions to make it a better experience for the audience [Learning Objectives 1-5].
Please read all of the instructions before you complete the assignment.
Choose only ONE of the performances below to watch.
Write a 600-700 word letter to the choreographer that describes your interpretation of the performance, analyzes the context clues, related arts, and connections that support your interpretation of the performance, evaluates how effectively the choreographer used the elements to communicate their intent to the audience, and offer critical feedback or questions to the choreographer.
This assignment will be checked for plagiarism using SafeAssign. Please include citations as needed.
Several examples of students’ letters are posted to help your writing. They are not perfect so use them to replicate what they did well and what errors to avoid.
BARRY, a contemporary dance performance choreographed by Asya Zlatina, celebrates life and the Yiddish culture through dance to the iconic soundtrack of the Barry Sisters. It premiered at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 2016.
Run time: 49 minutes
Click the hyperlink for more information about Artist House/Asya Zlatina + Dancers.
Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (2012)
“Bourne’s Swan Lake radically reinterprets the myth. The focus of the ballet is turned away from the Ondine character to the man – the Prince. It is the Prince who struggles against repression and hopes for liberty, and who needs love to make him safe. In addition, it is not the mortal who is unfaithful to the nymph. Rather, it is the Swan who (in Act Two) expresses love for the Prince, betrays him in the form of the Stranger (Act Three), and finally returns to him (Act Four). However, as in the Ondine myth, the sin of betrayal cannot be expiated except in death” (Wikipedia).
Run time: 2 hours
Rooted is an examination of lineage from the perspective of diverse artists navigating the “New America”. This collective of movers will infuse urban dance styles to share their stories.
Premiered January 18th, 2019
Run Time: 30-45 minutes
Choreography: Chris Law in collaboration with the cast
Lighting Design: Brandi Martin
Sound Design: Ama Law & Paul Jackson
Click the hyperlink for more information about Project ChArma.
Xen (2018) and Father: Vision of the floating world (2020)
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Because Akram Khan’s films are so short, watch and discuss both in your respondent letter.
Xen is a short film inspired by Akram Khan’s full-length solo XENOS. “XENOS means ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner.’ Akram and his collaborators drew from the archives of the 20th century, unearthing the experience of colonial soldiers in the First World War. Over 4 million non-white men were mobilized by the European and American armies during the conflict.
“Around 1.5 million of them were from India, mostly peasant-warriors from North and North-Western India, who fought and died in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In service to the myths of Europe, dislocated from their homelands and cultures, their stories have until recently remained in shadow” (Kennedy Center program notes 2021).
Run time: 8 minutes
Father: Vision of the floating world
“For this work, Akram draws on his childhood stories and his families’ sense of national pride to present to Bangladesh the essence of Bongobondhu’s spirit. Using Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s powerful speech as inspiration, Akram invited composer Vincenzo Lamagna to create the score in this new piece… [This piece was] featured as part of the 100 years anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Sheik Mujib on Tuesday 17 March 2020 in Dhaka, Bangladesh” (akramkhancompany.net).
Run time: 9 minutes
Student example – “BARRY”
Dear Ms. Asya Zlatina,
The choreography named Barry that you have performed was mesmerizing. I believe that you mainly performed this dance in order to celebrate the Yiddish culture of your grandparents as you mentioned in the beginig. It came to my notice that you have mainly performed this dance to showcase your childhood memories, romantic moments and so on.. The soundtrack mainly used in this dance was from Barry sisters. Barry sisters mostly did portray the life situations of Jewish people before the ’20s. I believe that you did divide this dance into different parts in order to show different phases that come to your life such as love, family, friends, and so on…
I believe that since you were able to showcase your feelings of childhood and so on.. using different versions of music, costumes, light and so on.. you were pretty successful. This dance did resonate with me since I am a person who has had gone through different life situations in my life. This was not just an opportunity for me to simply watch a dance instead it was heart touching and overwhelming for me. For me, the dance took me back to the good old days where I used to have a good time with my family.
Firstly one of the favorite parts that I loved is the part of the transition from the 4th part to the 5th part. As you can see in the 4th part in the end we can see the four sisters peeping out of the wall which in turn turns to the 5th part of the dance. Which is filled with romantic moments of 2 loved ones. I mostly loved this part because it sowed the curiosity of the teenagers in knowing the new things that can happen in life. I loved the fact that the transformation and the way you distinguished the characters were mind-blowing. The music used in the 5th part was romantic and the lighting was dim as well focusing only on the male and the female dancer. The movements that you have chosen were so smooth that each one of them showed me how much they did love each other. Finally, in the end, I noticed that they both were getting separated which made me remind me about my personal experience of losing my father at the age of eighteen which had left my mom heartbroken as well.
Another part which I loved was the 3rd and the 4th part which r=tells about the story of four girls and their childhood. The music used in this part was filled with joyfulness. The dancers were of different ages which again showed me that they were of different age groups, which confirms that they are siblings that belonged to different age groups. Furthermore, we can see them dividing themselves into two groups and playing with each other. The repetition of movements how much they loved playing. Also, I loved the way in which you showed the ages of girls by making them wear a colorful floral skirt of different lengths. Mainly what I loved in this portion is how you did portray the theme of love and friendship among the sister which is unbreakable.
Furthermore, another marvelous part that I loved is the part in which three young girls did dance in three different colored skirts. The music that you have used here is a soft piano and the coordination of movements is remarkable as well. All of them holding hands together again shows the strong bonding between the sisters. Moving to the next part what I felt is that sooner one sister was left out in the whole struggle of the holocaust. Also, this part is one of my favorites because it shows the heartbreaking situation that they faced in their life. I loved the dressing that you chose(yellow shirt and red floral skirt) to dress that character, which was dancing as a single because the red floral skirt reminds people of the struggling period that she might have gone through in life. Also, I loved the fact that you used dim light which helps to capture the emotions of the audience.
At the end of the whole performance, I believe that you showed your memories and experience of childhood to adulthood in which you again divided it into different phases. Even though the other parts were fabulous, this three-part that I mentioned was my favorite. A change that I felt that you could have made was in the music. I felt that there was a bit of in-balancing between the music and the dance that you chose. I believe that if have had made those changes this dance would be extremely stunning.
I loved the fact that you did gave the audience and the dancers the freedom to choose the idea from the dance even though you had a clear idea of it. Also, I loved the fact that you did allowed the women who are fighting for an opportunity since the population of women is more than the male’s as you mentioned. For me personally, I have no experience in any of the dances but then your fabulous choreography Barry helped drive towards my past experiences and phases that I have gone through in my life. The dance had helped me to understand the Yiddish culture with the whole celebration filled up with love, friendship, life and so on.. which had actually touched heart since I have gone through all of these phases.
Asya thank you for the fabulous work that you showcased which had actually made me time travel me backward to the good old days filled up with nostalgia. This dance has actually blossomed my memories again as a beautiful flower which I believe that I would cherish it all day in my life.
Student Example – “Rooted”
Dear Chris Law,
I saw your 2019 live show Rooted that was performed at the Kennedy Center, and I would have to say this was something that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Usually when I think of dance, I think of it being another form of art that can at times have a meaning, a story that’s being told by the body, where it’s usually accompanied by music. Yet instead, you use three forms of art, dance, music and literature/ storytelling for your project.
I liked how you added verbal storytelling to something that’s nonverbal (dance); however, it does make me wonder why did you do that? Especially since the choice in songs helped with the dancers and their struggles in “New America”, did you feel that dance wasn’t going to be enough, since hiphop is usually a dance genre that doesn’t necessarily tell a story? Or was this intentionally planned for your project? The reason I point this out is sometimes, the audience like indulging themselves into something that’s a bit complicated to understand, it brings them their attention more into the art and tries to decipher the message. I would say yours was too straight forward.
Under the same breath, I can’t blame you for taking that route, to me it seems you switched the basics of hip hop. You allowed a genre that usually doesn’t tell a story to now have a message. Something that is usually for fun and feeling to now use it as a vessel to deliver important information. And using hip hop, which is one of the most popular dance genres out there, allows your political statements to be reached to possibly under audience, and making the dance live makes it a popular dance that now be spread to millions of people.
I also appreciate that the whole performance wasn’t just hiphop. As we learn about each dancer and their struggles, they instead use different types of modern dance. Was that on purpose? Did you make them all have a modern dance added into their solo or was it just a coincidence that they all had that in common beside hip hop? Even though they had their own touch in dance, I would’ve liked a more bigger variety in their solo dance instead of all of them being similar, it would’ve been nice that someone did more robotic, or maybe 2 of the artists dance in a ballroom way since the overall story is stating that these people are out of the normal in America but because of that one thing they are so alike.
You will write a 600-700 word letter to the choreographer that describes their dance and your interpretation of it, explains how the movement and related arts support your interpretation, and evaluates how well the movement and related arts support your analysis and interpretation. Conclude the letter with feedback for the choreographer.