Life can be a roll of the dice.
Amber Nash ‘04 and Carol Fike, associate professor of dance, rolled the dice and won a spot in a modern dance festival at the Julia Richmond Educational Complex Theatre in New York City.
The piece titled “EDGE,” choreographed by Fike and danced by Nash, is based on the life and death of poet Sylvia Plath, author of The Bell Jar. Plath, a tortured soul for most of her life, committed suicide.
Carol Fike, associate professor of dance, and Amber Nash '04 rehearse Fike's piece titled "EDGE."
The dance piece came together when Fike and Nash chose several of Plath’s poems and rolled one die using the numbers to choose corresponding lines and words to develop movements. They watched a video of Plath’s life and wrote three pages of words and descriptive adjectives to get the feel of the dance.
“There were things that I could understand what she was talking about,” Fike said before leaving for the April performance. “Whether it was a line that stuck with me or a poem that I could pull a story from.”
The dance opens with slideshow flashes of Plath’s life, Nash wringing her hands. A chair, the sole prop on stage, represents a support for life, the gas oven for death. Although the suicide instills a dark side to the dance, there is joy taken from some of the poetic highs.
“From the beginning (of the dance) I’m committed to the act,” Nash explains. “But when I’m running around the stage, I’m revisiting the good times of life. It’s part of my life.”
The piece was twice as long when originally performed at the Alma College Dance Company Spring Concert in 2004. Choreographer and dancer have worked for months cutting the length and rehearsing for the New York performance. Fike spent the Winter Term on sabbatical and Nash drove from Lansing frequently to collaborate.
From the time Fike became intrigued by Plath’s writings, she knew Nash was the dancer for the piece.
“I saw her in this part. There was a physical similarity. Amber’s face is always so expressive, always involved in the moment when performing.”
While dancing in New York usually signifies hitting the big time professionally, Nash does not intend to make dance performance her career. She starts medical school in the fall at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., making good use of her pre-medical and dance and theatre double major.
She intends to look for a dance school that needs a weekend instructor if she can manage her time. And of course attend dance performances.