Elisabeth Wales ’22 had never performed a dance piece outside, much less with the restraints of social distancing. But the shared challenges of dancing on uneven ground, wearing masks and creating a work that reflected the times we’re living in felt surprisingly liberating to Wales and her fellow dancers.
“The whole process took some getting used to at first, but it was interesting to see how much you can play with space outside when you’re not constrained by the boundaries of a stage or studio,” Wales, a dance and government double-major, said. “It was different, but I felt fulfilled to be performing for an audience.”
The piece, titled Reach, was choreographed by Lisa Race, associate professor of dance and acting chair of the dance department. Reach was performed in the Arboretum for a socially distanced audience. The event also featured musical pre-shows led by musician and composer for dance Richard Schenk.
“Dance is an embodied language, and COVID-19 rules have made many dancers feel somewhat akin to caged animals with our studios delineated into small squares for dancing,” Race said. “So to dance freely, unencumbered, and to experience the joy of rigorous dancing felt rather momentous.”