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Caleb Evington

Paths
Fall Appalachian Dance Ensemble
Valborg Theatre, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
November 19th 7:30PM

Fall Appalachian Dance Ensemble is an annual dance performance that features student
and facultys work from Appalachian State University. The production showcases choreography
created on campus and is danced by students from the dance major and by students who wish to
audition from other majors. This event is the highlight of the Dance Departments semester and
packs a full house on the Friday and Saturday night showings. This year the ensemble had seven
dances that were being performed. This paper will analyze and interpret the first dance that was
shown. This particular dance caught my eye for many reasons. It was choreographed by Taylor
Bailey and was entitled, Would you follow the arrows on the street or form your own path?.
The lighting design was executed by one of my friends Wyatt Nyman. The costumes
were designed by ADE. The music chosen was an instrumental cover of a Beyonce song called
Pretty Hurts by Lxgendary Beats and also The Drift by Blackmill. The lighting was mostly
dim and highlighted each dancer equally. The angle of the lighting also cast shadows downstage
from the performers and made for a very dynamic view from the audience. The costumes were
black unitards which complimented the lighting brilliantly. The black costumes on the
performers coupled with the white light cast a grey shadow that mystified the audience. Lastly,
the music choice encouraged the theme of the dance to present itself more readily. Both songs
were very fast paced in tempo and utilized the use of electronic beats and synthesizers. The

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music brought out the aspect of todays society that I believe the choreographer was aiming at
portraying through the story of the dance.
I was quickly captivated with the performance and the story that I was interpreting
through the dancers and the choreography. I believe that the overall dance was conveying a
theme of the business, confusion, and chaos of modernity. The under arching theme of the dance
was the idea that individuals should feel free to express themselves and find their own path to
walk despite a society with so many social norms, rules, obligations, and expectations. Towards
the end of the dance, I was inspired and motivated to see my life through my own lens and to live
the life that I would chose for myself to walk in and through. This message was subtly revealed
through elements of the choreography, lighting, costumes, and music.
The quick tempo of the music allowed and warranted the dancers to move through space
at a very quick pace and symbolized the business of the society. The dance began with the
performers all stepping out on to the stage at the exact moment in time. Once the dancers had
emerged from stage right, they begin walking in uniform lines to stage left. These movements
were in synchronous form with each other and there was no room for interpretation and freedom
of expression. The matching outfits also gave off the appearance that the paths that each
individual was walking must be confined and in line with the other paths. The dancers continued
to step in line at the pace of each other and walk back and forth from stage left to stage right.
After several stanzas of music, the beat changed and one dancer began to change his pattern of
movement and express himself while walking in the line. Meanwhile, the lines began to shift
from horizontal rhythms to diagonal ones. The lines shifted in direction throughout the rest of the
dance, changing every second walk through and completion of two revolutions. Each time the
dancers would walk through from one side of the line to the other, a different individual would

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express themselves with more flattering and technical dance movements while continuing to
keep the pace of the line. In time, two and sometimes three dancers would be expanding upon the
movements that had been set in place throughout the previous walkthroughs. Toward the end of
the dance, there were so many differing ways in which the individuals were expressing
themselves and there was significantly less uniformity and confinement in the paths that they
were walking in the beginning of the dance.
The original message that was being sent was that the predetermined paths based the
norms, patterns, and the expectations of the others was the best way in which to make use of the
space that was given to the individuals. The uniform lines represented the individuals giving in to
the rules that society was telling them they should live under. This way of living showcased the
idea that order and structure makes for the most efficient and functioning society in which to live
in. As the individuals began to understand the concept of individualism, they each started to
express themselves in various ways. New patterns and movements began to emerge. The
individuals moved in fresh ways that they had created on their own freewill and through the
inspiration of the others. The more each dancer began to express themselves, the more every
other dancer began to express themselves. The snowball effect was largely at play here in the
sense that when one individual broke out of the boxed confinement, the others were inspired,
stirred up, invigorated, and anxious to break out as well. By the end of the performance, there
were two ways in which to interpret the effect of individualism and the notion of choosing ones
own path to walk. The audience could chose to see that there was mass chaos presenting itself
on stage that could not be controlled or made sense of, or the audience could choose to believe
that there was beauty, change, and freedom amid the chaos. I chose the latter. While it was
impossible to fully take in the wide variety of movements and expressions that the dancers were

Caleb Evington
all performing, I was breathe taken by each individual that I would chose to watch. It was next to
impossible to take in the full picture because of the large stage and the diversity of movements
and places on stage in which the dancers were moving through. While at first I found it
bothersome to be overstimulated by the choreography, I began to see that was the precise point
of the dance. Among the chaos, individualism, and freedom of expression there were beauty and
creativity and dancers breaking the lines of confinement. They were living the life that they
wanted, in the society that they believed was the one in which they wanted to function and
operate under, and the path that was inspired by the others and the one that they had chosen for
themselves.