TEEN AMBASSADOR: HANNAH CHAMBERLAIN | FEBRUARY 10, 2018
Dance is one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring ways for people to convey their stories. Through dance, people are able to share their experiences, sometimes better than they would be able to by speaking. Jessica Lang, a choreographer from New York City, used dance to put forth some of the most special and thought-provoking dances I have ever seen. With the different underlying messages present in all five dances, each was able to expose the audience to new stories and information that many, most likely, hadn’t been aware of before.
In the preshow discussion, Jessica was joined by Dr. Bob Meagher to discuss Lang’s work “Thousand Yard Stare” and how it tied into veterans and their experiences. Lang discussed, in depth, the process she went through when choreographing this dance. She discussed the many conversations she had with people of all backgrounds who were willing to share their stories with her. All of these incredible stories combined helped Lang develop an extraordinary dance that honors veterans in a way that has never been done before. Lang felt that the purpose of the dance was not to have veterans relive the painful memories of their service. Instead, she wanted to help others recognize the special bonds that these men and women formed with one another while at war. Dr. Meagher also expressed that he felt many Americans don’t understand the sacrifices of those who have served and don’t pay them enough respect. Lang hopes that her dance can help people understand just what it is like to be fighting in a war zone. She hopes people will not only see the conflict and violence in her dance, but also the brotherhood and friendships that ensue.
The performance contained five different dances. Each dance showcased a different element and mood in a unique, yet relatable, way. From a very modern dance that accentuated the dancers’ muscular bodies and amazing talents to multiple dances using fabric and other props to better convey their message, no two dances were alike. Each dance displayed distinct elements and ideas that the others didn’t. The costumes, set, and lighting were simple yet added a certain feature to the performance that made it even more intriguing and visually appealing.
The performance concluded with the highly anticipated “Thousand Yard Stare”. With all of the chatter surrounding this dance, I can honestly say that it surpassed my expectations, making it one of the most remarkable and eye-opening dances I have ever seen. The attention to detail was impeccable. Each dancer had a different drawing on their back, done by actual veterans, to show the individuality that the men and women serving our country still possess. The music choice, being a Beethoven string quartet, was extremely fitting for the choreography. The music was able to capture everything from the sorrow to the hope to the camaraderie that soldiers face when deployed and after returning. This dance expressed so many different emotions that might not have been achievable through the written word. Sometimes we have to look to other art form to express different and conflicting emotions.