The body is more than just a vehicle for movement–it’s a way to explore the potentials of human existence and outgrow limitations through process.
Candice Salyers, professor of Theatre and Dance, showcased this notion on Nov. 5 at the Redfern Arts Center during her truly unique performance, titled “a history of levitation.” Dancing on the stage of the Alumni Recital Hall at 7 p.m., Salyers gave the audience a sense of intimacy between themselves and the dancer.
Her ultimate goal was to showcase dance pieces that had a profound connection between spirituality and the movements she makes with her body.
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Salyers, according to the program, is a current Texas Woman’s University Ph.D. candidate who creates her dance pieces in order to archive thoughts pertaining to “perspectives on female sainthood.” Saylers has expanded her skills at many venues, including Vermont Performance Lab, Wesleyan Center for the Arts and the New England Foundation for the Arts. According to her personal website, Salyers received her B.L.S. in Interdisciplinary Arts from the University of Memphis and a M.F.A in Dance from Smith College.
Her career has focused on combining movements of the body with conceptual art to create an exclusive relationship between her and the current audience.
Director of the Redfern Arts Center, Shannon Mayers, said of Salyers’ performance, “She’s not just performing in a traditional space. A lot of her work is based on certain environments; she looks to these environments for aesthetic value.”
Mayers worked with Salyers to set up a performance that would be as close to what Salyers pictured. Mayers said she believes that this performance was important, especially to dance majors because it shows that the process of dance is not only important but it is the creative element.
Mayers said she also believes that this performance was vastly different than others because of the way Salyers was able to continually blur the lines between the audience and performer.
Salyers had set up an art installation before the recital began that showcased a combination of voice recordings that allowed her to move slowly and artistically to in front of a projector.
Salyers, who set up this art installation in order to provide audience members with multiple perspectives, also asked members of the audience to join her on stage in order to obtain an up-close and intimate point of view.
This dance tied in with the “community” theme Redfern has this year. When asked her opinion of the performance, Mayers commented, “It’s actually the first time, since I am fairly new here, that I have seen her dance. So I was very impressed by her physical vocabulary. I call it very fluid and lyrical; those are the best words I can find right now, as well as expressive.”
“I like the fact that she had the excerpts between the pieces that talked about the process,” Mayers explained. Salyers’ way of interacting with the audience, like Adele Myers’ shows, is engaging and allows the audience to experience another piece of the action in a less traditional way. “It’s a learning process. How do you understand or respond to a performance? I think the audience was willing to go into the journey even when it was confusing. They were willing to go along with the unknown,” Mayers said of the audience’s reaction to Salyers’ modern, non-traditional performance.
The audience was comprised of dance students who had to write about the performance, and members of the Keene community. This permitted different points of view about the recital.
Henri Hardina-Blanchette, a freshman dance major, said of the performance, “I thought [Salyers’] use of her physicality and talent really shared how much she could do and what she wanted to convey. I also thought her use of improvisation was brilliant and well executed.”
While this performance showcased the various ways a body can inhabit multiple physical viewpoints, some students questioned this perspective of dance.
Ultimately, Salyers’ performance sought to bridge visual and performing arts by focusing on the interactions among audience members.
Salyers gave an exceptionally unique performance that may be indistinguishable, was also amazing for its use of physical strength and discipline in an effort to deliver spiritual and corporeal connections with the earth through dance.
Megan Scott can be contacted at