On Saturday, Apr. 15, there was a dance performance in the Colby Art Museum called untitled sad piece. There were five dancers, two of which were alumni of the College: Heidi Henderson `83 and Sarah Gibbons `15. Henderson, who started dancing at the College her junior year, choreographed the dances in collaboration with the other dancers. All nine pieces are accompanied by songs by The Carpenters.
Henderson said that the choreography process began with movement and improvisation, and the music came much later. She said that this is “common for postmodern choreography but less common for what people think we all do as choreographers.” Henderson has been able to collaborate with the other dancers so well because they understood her “way of moving.” She also said the people dancing with her in this performance “have come into [her] orbit in other situations, festivals in the summer, working in New York.”
The nine performances had solos, duets, and group pieces. All the dances had a melancholy ambiance about them, which was prominent throughout the performance, and a somber sound resonated from the speakers throughout the whole room. The dancers had somewhat stoic facial expressions throughout the performance. All of the songs had a beautiful yet sorrowful voice.
Henderson said that Karen Carpenter, the singer for the Carpenters, was the first public figure she knew about dying from anorexia. She said “There’s sadness in her story, and you can hear the sadness in her voice. Her voice is incredibly beautiful and powerful and always sad.” One of the songs, titled “My Body Keeps Changing My Mind,” seemed more upbeat than the other songs, yet Karen’s voice was still melancholy. Henderson said she called this performance untitled sad piece so the audience would be aware of the artists’ sadness.
When asked if there was a story she wanted the audience to receive, Heidi said, “I don’t want to dictate a story to the audience. I want people to see what they see and connect to it in ways that resonate with them. I never feel like I’m making anything that’s so obvious that it’s one message.”
~ Laila Clarke `26