Awareness, Anguish, Terror, Potential, Violence, Beauty, Rage, Peacefulness, Void and Rebirth.
“Hecatomb,” the first student directed and choreographed project to be held in the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater at the Ent Center for the Arts, highlights those ten dispositions of human nature.
Senior visual and performing arts (VAPA) senior student Olivia Langley’s dance performance project, titled “Hecatomb,” will premier March 12. Langley is a VAPA major with a concentration in theatre and dance.
In Langley’s own words: “Aspects of humanity, human characteristics, philosophy, ideas… [these] sort of found themselves in this liminal space between existence and non-existence. And they have to figure out and navigate the world and figure out where they are and try to see those cycles from that liminal space, those cycles of human characteristics that happen throughout history, and try to amend or break or reinforce those cycles, depending on their disposition.”
Regarding her inspiration, Langley said, “[The idea] sort of began for me, about a year or two ago. I had been a fan of this show called ‘Attack on Titan’ which is sort of where the inspiration of the show came from.”
Langley noticed themes that helped her to translate her own themes into dance, doing so in a way that was important to synonymy with the real world.
Tiffany Tinsley, the head dance instructor for the VAPA department, is Langley’s advisor. Tinsley provided Langley with advice to help her capture the dance, which will read a lot like a play, and about how to navigate the show itself.
For outside inspiration, Langley cited Kyle Abraham, a professional performer within the dance industry, whose piece on the subjects of Black lives, low-income living and crime versus police brutality showed Langley how to express grand ideas within a piece.
“[This] especially inspired me when I saw some of the work that he was doing and that idea of taking these ideas or these themes or these philosophies or these truths of our history and putting them into a piece and trying to express it that way,” Langley said.
Most of the show is choreographed by Langley, with some choreography by the dancers themselves.
“Hecatomb” incorporates some scored-pieces. According to Langley, a score is when the choreographer has a concept and a series of guidelines about how the movement should look, and then the dancers take that information and interpret it themselves.
There are six dancers in total, five female dancers and one male dancer, and they all share equal parts. Langley said that the roles of “Inevitability” and “Peace” in particular, played by VAPA students Caleb Hall and Serena McNerney, are focal points.
Langley hopes audiences will gain a sense of urgency, a sense of a need for action or even a sense of reflection from “Hecatomb.”
She said, “We live sort of in this world where we have all this information, and we have the news going off 24 seven, and we see all of these things happening around the world or in our own backyards, but we don’t really have an opportunity to sort of reflect on them in a sort of mirrored sense. We still haven’t broken the cycle of oppression.”
As for Langley’s favorite aspect of the show, she mentions the community that was created between the project’s performers and staff. She said she was encouraged by “just knowing that everyone’s been pulling weight, and everyone’s been working hard despite the fact we’ve all been virtual doing production meetings virtually having rehearsals, and then still being able to come back together and say okay tech is this weekend, let’s do it and everyone’s ready.”
When contemplating on the setting of the physical performance, they originally considered using the Shockley Zalabak Theater; however, they decided on the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant. “If it had not been for COVID, I believe it would have been in the Osborn,” Langley said.
Because of COVID-19 the Osborn was too small to host an audience with social distancing guidelines.
Langley said this will also be the first student directed show to go up in the Dusty Loo.
Regarding attendance, Langley said there will be approximately 18 to 20 seats available per performance. The seating will be set up as doubles and singles to accommodate individuals who arrive or live together, but no more than two people can sit together.
The dress rehearsal performance will be recorded and available online after the performance is over since in-person attendance is limited.
There will also be seating in the mezzanine to allow audiences to look down at the performance. “We figured with COVID and social distance and just to make people feel more comfortable we would want to separate the audience from the dancers,” Langley said.
The dancers will also be wearing masks during the entire performance.
The show dates are March 12 at 7:30 p.m., March 13 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., March 14 at 2 p.m., March 18 at 7:30 p.m., and March 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free for UCCS students or $7 for non-UCCS students.
Credits and crew members:
Music: Hiroyuki Sawano, Composer
Caleb Hall – Inevitable
Serena McNearny – Peace
Shayla Mellen – Perdition
Shantel Horne – Avarice
Serenity Johnson – Autonomy
Kaela Apuron – Indignation
JoLynn Minns – Lighting Designer
Delaney Ciborowski – Props Designer
Hunter Buck – Set Designer
Amanda Dixon – Costume Designer
Juan Carlos – Sound Design
(Assistants, stagehands and dressers not included in this crew list.)
Olivia Langley – Director/ Choreographer
Sarah Chin – Stage Manager
Tiffany Tinsley-Weeks – Dance Advisor
Roy Ballard – Technical Director