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"iMEE stunned members of the Salve Regina University community with nine mesmerizing performances" - by Ciara Speller

Posted by imeedanceco on October 31, 2015 at 10:35 AM

iMEE stunned members of the Salve Regina University community with nine mesmerizing performances

Written by Ciara Speller

October 30, 2015

One window, a picnic table and a coconut. What do these three objects have in common? Truly nothing… except the fact that iMEE co-creators Andrea Dawn Shelley and Spencer Gavin Hering found ways to incorporate these objects into their latest work, the sum of 4 / + one, in thought provoking and stimulating ways audiences will only be able to fathom upon viewing first handedly.


On October 11, iMEE (infinite Movement Ever Evolving) stunned members of the Salve Regina University community with nine mesmerizing performances. From the time the first piece commenced, until the last lighting cue dimmed, chatter and awe soared across audience members in the Megley Theater.


As audience members sat in their seats waiting to see what would happen first, the lights faded and complete darkness presented itself in the theater. You could feel a strong presence from the dancers who were standing on the floor in complete silence. There they stood calmly and gently. Their calmness radiated off of their bodies, and came over the audience like waves crash on a shoreline.


It was like our breaths became their breaths. We became united, us the audience and these dancers. We were all living out this moment together. It was extremely powerful and at that moment I realized that I was going to witness something special.


“Missing The Blues” opened iMEE’s showcase. The choreography set by Shelley on the entire cast of dancers still resonates with me. The movement quality itself, had this cool and effortless vibe to it. Though the movements being executed from dancers, were ones involving great technique and focus; Shelley used creative innovations to allow contrasting forces to be seen between movement and her dancers.


In this piece, Shelley incorporated the use of a window that hung free from the walls in the theater. Each dancer used this window at one point or another, and created quirky imagery and still frames, allowing viewers to use a critical lens in analyzing the meaning of the window and the connection that each dancer had with it.


This piece was nothing less than captivating. All of the elements involved in it worked. I was left feeling mentally stimulated and I wanted more, which is exactly what I got.


Another piece set by Shelley on company members Cristian Laverde König and Brit Wallis entitled, “If You Wanna Be Happy” depicted a unique twist on the relationship between Laverde König and Wallis. Shelley used vibrant and expressive choreography to get this point across, (though open for interpretation) that the two have a whimsical connection with one another. The portrayed a musical theatre type feel, as Laverde König and Wallis traversed the entire stage often using partner dancing and each others body parts as musical instruments.


Very different than that of the first piece, this piece allowed for audience viewers to see the true depth and dimensions that each dancer exudes.


Wallis performed in a solo entitled “Perhaps” which was set on her by Hering. In this piece, Wallis incorporates a coconut into her movement vocabulary. Why a coconut you ask? And what is its symbolism? That is the magic within this piece. To me the coconut symbolized the stillness and and boredom that Wallis’ character was faced with in her relationship, but others who attended the performance digested the use of the coconut differently than I.


For me personally, that is what sets aside a good piece, and a great piece. Greatness comes from creating something that allows analysis and critical evaluations to be thought about even after the show has ended.


In speaking with Wallis after the show, she said she feels that in this show, audiences are on the outside looking in to a different world. “There’s a lot of vignettes and stories and threads and connections and relationships and conversations,” said Wallis about the entirety of the show.


Not only was the choreography and performance from the dancers something that will never be forgotten as it impacted everyone who witnessed it, but Shelley and Hering also decided to incorporate another art form into their work.


In addition to their unique style in regards to choreography, Shelley and Hering took their work a step further by incorporating projected images as a back drop and scene setter, while the company danced on the floor. As something I had not seen during a performance prior to this, I was left truly amazed with every detail that went into their work.


In a brief interview, Shelley and Hering expressed how difficult it was to get this show rehearsed and ready for its Newport debut. If I had not known that this show was put together in just a few short weeks, I would have been persuaded to think that it took months to become this seamless.


There were five different dancers, but they all came together and danced collectively even when they weren’t dancing, they were supporting each other with their energy on the sidelines. I thought it was beautiful,” said Lauren Wyble, a sophomore at the university.


Aesthetically pleasing, fulfilling and truly amazing. Kudos is definitely in order for the creativity and beauty that came out of the sum of 4 / + one.

ABOUT the AUTHOR / Ciara Speller is currently studying for her Masters Degree in Journalism at Emerson College. She recently graduated from Salve Regina University, where she received her Bachelors Degree in English Communications, with a Minor in Dance. During her time at Salve Regina, she wrote for Salve Regina's Mosaic Newspaper and contributed in making the first student run online broadcast. Ciara also took on the role of Broadcasting Editor for the Mosaic in 2012, as well as the news correspondent for SALVEToday. In the summer of 2013, Ciara interned with WMUR channel 9 news as an associate producer, as well as ABC6 in Providence, Rhode Island. 


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