OGDEN — If you’re looking for the ripple effect in the arts, Orchesis Dance Theatre offers a classic example of it this week.
The Weber State University dance company will present “Resonance” in the Browning Center’s Allred Theater on campus. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday.
“Resonance” is the second half of a year-long collaborative project between students in the dance, music and visual arts disciplines at the university. Back in November, the dance company presented a similarly structured program called “Form.”
This semester, a new set of students are collaborating, building on what last semester’s students learned about working together in various disciplines, according to Amanda Sowerby, a professor of dance and associate dean in the school’s College of Arts and Humanities. Sowerby was director for both “Form” and “Resonance.”
“‘Resonance’ implies the ripple effect of all that, how the experience and exploration of art forms — music, dance, project design, visuals arts — how all these art forms resonate with one another,” Sowerby said. “Because of what we learned last semester, these new students have applied what worked and what we’d change.”
For the performance, original electronic music was composed by Carey Campbell, a WSU associate professor of music.
In addition to the dancers, “Resonance” will feature sculpture by students under the direction of Jason Manley, an associate professor of art and head of the sculpture program at Weber. The sculptures are wrapped in a type of material that allows images to be projected onto them — the projections were created by students in Jessica Greenberg’s projection design class.
“It’s quite otherworldly,” Sowerby says of the effect.
Moving Company, the student-course dance program at the university that will perform “Resonance,” has also been working with local Boys and Girls Clubs to create visual art. These framed artworks will be on display outside the theater.
“It’s a campus-wide project, but it’s also community wide,” Sowerby said.
Along with the “Resonance” performance, the evening will include a solo work, “Afloat,” presented by dance major Jacelyn Gray. Two senior thesis works — “Now I Am Going to Make An Obscene Gesture” by Cyntera May, and “Take Away the Takeaway,” by Kristen Houskeeper — will also be featured, along with “Fleet” by Cat Kamrath and “Social” by Rebecca Aneloski.
As with last semester’s program, Sowerby said “Resonance” is very much an abstract piece.
“Sometimes, just because human beings are meaning-makers, it’s natural for us to find the story — to feel a sense of emotion, to be reminded of something — when engaging art with our own lives,” she said.
However, Sowerby said what this performance offers to audiences is “our own investigation of these very fundamental ideas in art.”
Sowerby says the one thing she always asks her students — and herself — when engaging with art is, “What resonates with me?”
“Try and notice, and ask yourself ‘Why does that impact me? Or, if not, ‘Why doesn’t it?’” she said.
And that, Sowerby says, is the real joy in engaging with art — there are no right or wrong answers.
“As I tell my students, whether you’re in that theater seat engaging with art or presenting it, each individual will come away with a different experience, and that’s OK,” she said. “The discussion and reflection afterward is what really makes it all work.”
Sowerby “warmly encourages” audience members at “Resonance” not to feel like anything has to be “solved.”
“Just relax and take it in,” she said. “Sit back and enjoy the performances.”