The Dance Department at Delta College presented the spring showstopper “Tableaux in Motion” April 13-14 in Atherton Theater.
Valerie Gnassounou, director of the production and professor of dance, said preparations for the production started in February, so the dancers and stage crew had roughly two months until opening night, which involved extra rehearsals during spring break.
Most of the dancers were first and second semester students.
The production included three parts which were three different stories: “Let Go,” “A Day in the Garden” and “Shedding.”
“Let Go” had an innocent, calming feeling to it with the soft colors, simplicity of stage design, and harmonious music.
“The music … it drew me in,” said Tiyana Giordano, a Delta College student.
The story for part one was a younger girl listening to her elder about what she has learned from life. The elder offers advice.
Gnassounou said the first piece was about burden and lies.
Life has many twists and turns that can have good or bad outcomes but in the end you have to keep on going.
It’s like a game that you can’t pause or start over. So in the end scene of this part when the women threw rose petals from the basket on the elder woman it was the burdens she was letting go. She was letting those burdens go to focus on being happy.
Part two was much different as the name implies with “A Day in the Garden.”
That part had an almost nutcracker feel to it with the childlike air added with the flowers made the scene all the more enchanting . The dancers all wore simple white dresses with a different flower on each.
The flowers were taller than the dancers and different colors which added to the garden feel.
The scene was that of a group of young girls that want this bouquet of flowers, each taking a chance even though one hid her desire and the other made hers known by the tantrum she took. With the stage design, costumes and overall story this piece was addicting.
“At the beginning they were struggling but when the flower showed up it was a sign of hope,” said Angie Aguilar, a Delta College student, when asked about the second part.
Part three had more movement and strength.
The costumes were simple painted on skin-tight one pieces, make-up was minimal with only nude shades or no makeup. Hair was braided.
There was a certain strength the characters displayed by the confidence the dancers had showed performing with their natural beauty.
Being that women aren’t confident in certain physical features which they eventually change nowadays ,this was a breath of fresh air.
The dancers’ hand movements and paintings of a condor, puma and a snake imitated the wild beasts in the paintings.
Gnassounou said the goal was to display the sacred animals of the Incas and that it was inspired by her yoga instructor who played the music.
“My yoga instructor she was playing that music as I was doing yoga and I’m like ooh I love that music… I was like … it’s very good music. I just created a whole piece based on that. And it was about shedding, shedding our body, we relieve, we become somebody else. We are renewing ourselves,” she said.
Inevitably the production made people think and question what was being said but not everyone is going to see and hear things on a single frequency.
“Well, I always tell my students that when you dance you dance with your heart. You dance with a dreaming intent and you know sometimes you display and you have a purpose yourself as a person who’s actually putting up the art. But then it’s all the artists is receiving it. So everybody has to feel respective about the art. And about, you know, what you are trying to portray,” said Gnassounou.