(Courtesy of Dana Lawton Dances/Facebook)

(Courtesy of Dana Lawton Dances/Facebook)

by Tori Stringer | Assistant Opinion Editor

Dana Lawton is a beloved dance professor at Saint Mary’s College who took a sabbatical this semester to work on and expand her company, Dana Lawton Dances. On Oct. 3 and 4, her company performed “Beyond this Moment” at the Ashby Stage in Berkeley to packed, enthusiastic crowds.

On Friday, Oct. 4, the audience was filled with her adoring students — past, present, and future. The show featured a few dancers that had graced Saint Mary’s with their presence not too long ago. This included Jerry Lin, who graduated just last year, as well as Vera Schwegler, who teaches occasionally on campus.

The show also featured six other incredibly talented and diverse performers, not to mention the musicians who played live music throughout the show.

The show opened with all the dancers entering the stage in black costumes with bright pops of red. It started with a fanciful piece, which was almost silly, in that it resembled a barn dance. When two dancers just barely touched hands, it was clear from the first moments of the show that the pieces would focus on hands and the power of touch.

The rest of the show did not disappoint as the first piece was followed by a string of duets, which highlighted the fleeting or lasting relationships between people.

The closing piece, which involved a change to all black attire, was danced to the very recognizable “Blackbird” by The Beatles and left the audience touched as the dancers finished by lying on the floor.

For those who know Dana Lawton, it was easy to see the little moments that were very much “Dana” in the choreography displayed throughout the show. She showcased a childlike innocence in one piece, and what could be interpreted as a death scene in the next. She used dynamics in the movement to vary the moods and mixed purely instrumental music with songs paired with lyrics.

Even for those who did not notice every movement or know Dana’s choreography could still appreciate the emotional range she fit into such a short, 45 minute show. “Beyond This Moment” has proven to be a quality display of Dana’s two long years of work, and her company has now been asked to perform in Southern California and France. Although Saint Mary’s misses having Dana on campus this semester, it is great to know she is making such prominent accomplishments in the dance world, and will inevitably be welcomed back warmly next semester.

 

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