Luther College Chips

Musicians and dancers dare to trust

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Danica Kafton (‘18) and Inga Aleckson (‘18) practice during a rehearsal.

Danica Kafton (‘18) and Inga Aleckson (‘18) practice during a rehearsal.

Ana Lopez (‘19) | Chips

Ana Lopez (‘19) | Chips

Danica Kafton (‘18) and Inga Aleckson (‘18) practice during a rehearsal.

Ana López, Staff Writer

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Students and Decorah community members expressed the idea of trust through four dance performances as part of the Paideia series in the Center for the Arts Jewel Theater March 30 through April 1. Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre directed and devised the dance to include different representations of trust. The dance piece, titled “Trust Me,” consisted of ten scenes that included dance, theatre, and music elements that incorporated solos and group pieces.

According to Vazquez-Aguirre, the American playwright Charles Mee—who writes plays in a collage—style of different found texts-inspired the style of “Trust Me.” The performance included readings from various poems, short stories, scientific articles, and interviews from politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Pianist and composer James Kaufmann added details on the inspiration for the structure of “Trust Me.”

“Charles Mee likes to make adaptable plays using various sources, encouraging them to adapt and change the piece,” Kaufmann said. “We liked the idea that we could take something from here and something from there. Different sources can support our theme.”

Vazquez-Aguirre said that “Trust Me” explored the theme of trust in various ways by emulating Mee’s collage style. According to her, this feature of “Trust Me” complements the current Paideia theme.

“I think that ‘Trust Me’ is bringing these different sources and voices around trust between countries, individuals, humans and animals, and trust within yourself,” Vazquez-Aguirre said. “I think it is just rounding the conversation of how to understand and reflect altogether about trust. It is addressing all the possibilities around trust, that is our contribution to this conversation.”

Ana Lopez (‘19) | Chips
Community member Matthew Andreas and Madi Brauer (‘19) practice for the final performance.

Vazquez-Aguirre wanted to continue the conversation of trust during rehearsals and dance classes.

“During class we developed ideas of trusting one another and developing self trust,” Vazquez-Aguirre said. “We also worked bigger ideas for different segments throughout the semester. It is play research.”

One of the variations of the theme of trust included a scene of a whale and a diver. According to Vazquez-Aguirre, this scene intended to show the theme of trust between humans and animals as the story described the dangers of swimming with a whale.

“I thought it was very thought provoking with all the scenes and the text,” attendee Melissa Kirby (‘19) said.

Audience member Mikaela Reth (‘19) also enjoyed the whale scene.

“Even though she never gets hurt everyone came together and everyone was doing their own thing,” Reth said.

Another aspect highlighted was trust between the musicians and the dancers. The music used in the production was completely original and composed by Andrew Murray (‘18) and Kaufmann.

According to Vazquez-Aguirre, all rehearsals included the musicians so dancers and the musicians collaborated to create the piece. Both of the musicians also took an active role in the dance piece by appearing in multiple scenes.

Dance major Inga Aleckson (‘18) found “Trust Me’ to be a special opportunity as an artist.

“I love that there is so much opportunity for improvising and expressing ourselves in the moment rather than trying to stick with a specific choreography,” Aleckson said. “I work way better with improvisation personally so that has been so enjoyable about this piece for me.”

Aleckson went on to mention the rewards of participating in a dance production.

“I feel like after every production [I have been in] I have taken away some sort of professional advice on how to work with people better,” Aleckson said. “Something that I think that we have all had to exercise a lot was patience for other people’s ideas because things don’t always come about super smoothly. ”

Madi Brauer (‘19) thought the spontaneity and variety of dancing in the production kept the show interesting. 

“Having freedom to create and be creative was really fun,” Brauer said. “One thing I take away is learning how to listen, and express yourself within that.”

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