On Wednesday, March 25, Robert Moses and his dance company, Robert Moses’ Kin, came to Keene State College. They performed four different dances at the Redfern Arts Center  on Wednesday night. Moses also took time to discuss his art with interested students.

One of the dances, “Speaking Ill of the Dead,” was about the concept of war, according to Alexis Esposito, a secondary education student who attended the event.

Esposito said that this dance was “clearly about the war and the movements were so powerful.” As this dance was performed, the phrase “we are sorry to inform you” continuously played over the speakers.

Jordan Crowley / Equinox Staff

Jordan Crowley / Equinox Staff

“The men were lifting the women and throwing them in the air, a little like a cheerleading stunt, but way better and more rough,” Esposito said about this dance number.

She went on to comment that “the intentional lighting and costuming for this piece was genius because the audience was literally left in the dark, much like citizens during a war.”

Esposito noted that she thought this dance,“Spoke to the Vietnam War, and the use of media during the war, among other things.”

Founded in 1995, Robert Moses’ Kin is a contemporary dance company founded by Robert Moses, who said that he, as the choreographer, uses dance as a medium through which he expresses various forms of what he calls “the Black experience.”

When asked to explain the Black experience, Moses explained the futility involved in anyone trying to generalize such an infinite number of experiences. “Everything we do is an experience,” he said.

“Say I am 6 feet 2 inches and I want to reach something on a shelf that is made for people who are 6 feet 3 inches. That is the experience of a man who is 6 feet 2 inches. I could write about that struggle, that frustration.” Moses said that the dances he choreographs and the themes he chooses to cover depend on what he wants people to get out of them.

Robert Moses’ Kin consists of 11 members. One of the dancers, Dexandro “D” Montalvo, explained how different the experience is as a dancer, as opposed to an audience member. He said that Moses will simply choreograph and teach the moves, but as a dancer the gravity of the performance as a whole isn’t appreciated in the same manner.

He explained that as a dancer he just does what he is told, learns the dance and performs. The experience of dancing, according to Montalvo, differs vastly from the experience of the audience.

The audience’s perception and response is how Moses knows whether or not his message was properly received. “If the audience is completely wrong about what the dance was representing, it’s just funny,” Moses said.

“But sometimes, it could also mean that I have failed.” Moses explained how difficult it is to send a straightforward message in an art form as ambiguous as dance. He eventually concluded that, “You get out of it what you want.”

Moses compared his art to building a table. “Your experience is your workshop,” he said. He explained how all of the art he creates is based on his experiences. Moses even commented on man’s attempt at conveying the experience of being a woman.

When asked how he felt about this, he laughed and said “you sound like my wife.”

He said that he would never write a piece like that as if he were a woman, but rather he would write about the experience of being a woman through his own eyes, the eyes of a man.

Sarah Rooney can be contacted at srooney@kscequinox.com

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