The Dance Program at Eastern University held its annual senior thesis performance on Feb. 2 and 3. Past and present, Eastern University dancers took to the stage to put on the exciting and entertaining show, You’ve Been Framed.
The first half of the recital was performed by Eastern University alumni. The dance pieces covered themes of rebirth in “Changed”, female-empowerment in “Woman”, and perseverance in “Not with Uncertainty”. Those who attended senior thesis performances in the past years could recognize the performers from these acts and current Eastern students were able to reunite with peers who recently graduated. The familiar faces performing the pieces was a great way to start the night.
After the intermission, the audience was welcomed to spend A Night at the Museum and experience the choreography of senior Dance major, Madison Eichert. “Everything in the museum comes to life at night”, a quote from Larry Daley, the character played by Ben Stiller from the movie Night at the Museum, is found in the playbill; Madison Eichert does just that with her works. In each number, a different painting is brought to life with the help of Eastern’s talented dancers. In the opening piece, Eichert used “A Night at the Museum Theme Song” and showed the closing of the museum. Just as things came to life in the movie, paintings danced sneakily as the people left the museum, and a security guard tip-toed in tap shoes, on the lookout for anything suspicious.
Inspired by famous pieces of art, Eichert choreographed works that captured the life within the paintings. In “Vincent,” the piece inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night, dancers dressed in different shades of blues to mirror the masterpiece’s color scheme. The dancers moved in smooth, sweeping motions, similar to the brushstrokes seen in the painting. Eichert had the dancers use yellow umbrellas to act as the stars in the sky. The piece shows the “life” of the night sky that Van Gogh created. If we were looking at the sky as Van Gogh did, we would see a changing sky, with stars brightening and dimming and clouds shifting positions. The performance captured that movement.
Madison Eichert’s thesis was special not only because of her personal interpretation of the paintings, but also because of the evident connection she has with the dancers. Eichert even brought two of her high-school mentees to dance in the pieces. In the video shown before the performances, Eichert talked about these two dancers, Sophia Fox, a freshman, and Matthew Groenveld, a junior, thanking them for their participation in the recital and telling her history of teaching them and watching them grow as dancers. Fox and Groenveld danced beautifully together, telling the story of the lovers in the painting Capsized.
The final performance, an interpretation of Cafe in Paris, captured the fun that comes with being among friends while doing what you love. Set to “Another Day of Sun” from La La Land, Eichert and the rest of the performers in the recital showed the hustle and bustle of a day on the streets of Paris in this number. Friends came together at the café to have fun on a sunny day. The audience could clearly see and feel the brightness and happiness from the performance. Unlike in many other majors and their thesis presentations, the Dance major requires people to come together in a unique way to make the project great. The process takes time and hard work, but when you get to do the work among friends, the reward is that much sweeter.