On Thursday, March 30, Keene State College’s Redfern Arts Center welcomed the Doppelgänger Dance Collective (DDC).
The collective started when the duo, co-founders Shura Baryshnikov and Danielle Davidson, both attended a technique class at a community arts center in Providence, Rhode Island, held by Heidi Henderson.
When the two realized their compatible artistic chemistry, they approached Henderson and requested a dance that would be made specifically for them.
Realizing the issue of only possessing one dance, they then commissioned four dances from four different choreographers, leading to the start of their first season together.
Over the course of the night, the duo performed five dances. When asked about the choreography, the performers later stated part of their focus was to highlight the duality of the two in a way that played heavily with the contrast and symmetry between the dancers.
This could be seen in the wardrobe as Baryshnikov and Davidson were clad in primarily black and white pieces outfits.
Sticking with the theme of duality, the overall tone of the play fluctuated between darker and lighter choreography between the dances.
When asked what inspired the choreography behind darker routines such as “Underwear, Nowhere,” Baryshnikov responded, “The characters that we essentially play are devised by looking at imagery from this collage by this woman named Hannah Höch, an artist who worked primarily in collages, usually images taken from daily publications… we were working with these very specific images of characters and then we built this piece around those characters.”
Henderson, who was also responsible for wardrobe, stated that Höch was also a huge inspiration in the design of the costumes.
Despite possessing a serious tone during some moments of the performance, the night was not entirely void of humor, as the performers utilized the use of ping pong balls to bring laughter to an otherwise grim moment.
When looking at the relationship between movement and humor in the choreography, Henderson left off on a lighter note by stating, “I just happen to be funny, even when I’m not trying to be funny.”
When coming up with an idea, Henderson said she often begins with the movement prior to coming up with an idea, allowing it to take her where it may.
Following the end of the event, a reception was hosted in the lobby of the Redfern Arts Center.
Both of the dancers spoke and addressed the audience members who remained.
Fellow KSC first year perspective theater and dance major and audience member Sung-Ki Carty stated that, “As a beginner in this style of dance, though I expected a high level of talent in what Doppelgänger can do with their bodies, I was astounded by their ability as storytellers.”
Nick Chasse can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org