On May 3rd and 4th, the Ballet Repertory class performed their contemporary ballet piece, “Plight,” during the Spring Dance Concert. Dance Lecturer Chandra Moss-Thorne choreographed “Plight” for her class of twenty-two dancers.
The conception and movements of “Plight” arose out of a conversation that Moss-Thorne has with a close friend. “That friend worked tirelessly to thrive and create a new path and I had no idea,” Moss-Thorne said. “My perspective of our reality was instantly altered and caused me to be even more aware of the lens that I viewed other’s through.”
“Plight” is about endurance, during the moments in life that are challenging and unpleasant. “The piece explores one person’s inevitable path and their eventual resolution,” Moss-Thorne said. “I create works that are layered with the hopes that they will be viewed from various perspectives and I hope that audience members are moved by what the dancers create in the space of performance.”
Moss-Thorne incorporated some techniques that she learned working with Kansas City Ballet into “Plight.” At Kansas City Ballet’s second company, Moss-Thorne worked with Dmitry Trubchanov, and together they went through advanced Pointe and Partnering techniques and practices with dancers. “Many of these techniques I have brought back to my class,” Moss-Thorne said. “I was also able to watch company class and rehearsals and make connections for Swarthmore students.”
Moss-Thorne had a challenging task ahead of her, choreographing for twenty-two dancers, especially since Moss-Thorne specializes in contemporary ballet where there are constant shifts in groupings and movements. “In classical technique there are many moments in which the corps de ballet execute the exact same steps,” she said. “That being said, it was daunting to create a work for twenty-two dancers in which they are not all doing the same movements, save one to two people.” Although working with such a large group was a change for Moss-Thorne, she welcomed the challenge because it was an opportunity to meet more students. “I enjoy engaging with the students during the creative process and meeting students where they are, and then exploring avenues of growth,” she continued. “The Swarthmore students are so intelligent in the way they approach new forms of creativity, so I was hopeful for the process.”
Before the Spring Dance Concert, the Ballet Repertory class had an opportunity to perform in Philadelphia for Koresh Dance Company. Every year, Koresh holds a few artist showcases and this year, Moss-Thorne’s “Plight” was accepted into a showcase. “It created a space for the dancers to bond, have an additional performance opportunity and meet dancers from the city and other schools/companies,” Moss-Thorne said. Moss-Thorne views the performance for Koresh as a success because the students worked so well together and navigated the small performance space like professionals. “We were well-received by the audience and it laid a fabulous groundwork for us to build upon for the spring dance concert,” Moss-Thorne continued. “The entire group went to dinner afterwards to celebrate and connect outside of the studio.”
David Chan ’19