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0000017c-60f7-de77-ad7e-f3f739cf0000Arts & More airs Fridays at 7:50 a.m. and 4:20 p.m.Theme music: "Like A Beginner Again" by Dan Barry of Seas of Jupiter

GVSU New Music Ensemble, Wellspring To Collaborate In 'Orbit'

Wellspring/Corri Terry & Dancers

Last November, Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers premiered their collaboration Old World New with the Red Sea Pedestrians. Now the dance troupe is performing live with Grand Valley State University's New Music Ensemble this weekend in their new program Orbit.

Both groups will perform Orbit Thursday through Saturday at the Wellspring Theater in Kalamazoo's Epic Center.

Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble
Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble

The music in Orbit spans the gamut. You can hear everything from the anticipation of going over a waterfall, to a humorous piece with children learning to count in the background, remixed by JadAbumrad of Radiolab—NPR’s documentary-style science show.

One of the highlights of the program is a piece of music that ensemble director Bill Ryan composed for Wellspring called “Play.”

“I, at the time, was getting ready to pack my first son, my first kid, off to school—college. So he was going to be leaving the nest,” Ryan explains.

“It’s a little bit of a playful piece where I maybe was reflecting on, I don’t know, sitting on the floor with him with Legos or something. But then there’s also kind of a bittersweet overtone to it all because I know it’s…it’s not going to be happening forever.”

But the music evoked different emotions for Wellspring artistic Director Cori Terry. She choreographed a four person dance for the composition she calls “Red Lips, White Lies.” Terry says it’s about her mother who passed away this summer. 

Credit Wellspring/Corri Terry & Dancers

“I keep using the word ‘melancholy,’" Terry says. "I don’t know if other people hear it, but there’s kind of this minor key that happens that makes’s like a longing for a time that once was. And I realized that that was really applicable to what I was dealing with in my life.”

Another interesting choreography in Orbit is the dance by Wellspring’s Rachel Miller. Miller says she wanted to do a piece about the different identities we keep.

“What our personality is like at work versus at home, versus at church, versus with our friends, versus with our family," Miller explains.

"And so I talked to about four or five different people and interviewed them about their lives basically and what they’ve gone through in their lives. And so I drew material from that.”

Miller says she actually started choreographing the dance before she got the music.

“I came up with a different work for each letter of the alphabet that I took from some of the interviews that I did for the piece. So for example, C was conscience. So I came up with a four count gesture for conscience, something that to me was representative of conscience. D was determination. So I came up with another gesture that to me represented determination. And so I didn’t put those together into a pattern until I got the music, but I already knew kind of what I wanted to do. It was mapped out.”

Terry says she would like to continue Wellspring's trend of working with live musicians. She says, just like in Miller’s piece, these modern compositions were made for Wellspring’s choreography.

“That’s the magic of collaboration, you know," she says. "All of a sudden you get the music and it works perfectly. And it really is this magical feeling where everything comes together and it just feels like it was meant to be.”

Orbit, a collaboration of GVSU’s New Music Ensemble and Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers, opens Thursday night at 8 p.m. at the Wellspring Theater and runs through Saturday.

Rebecca Thiele was an environmental reporter and producer of Arts & More for WMUK. She worked at the station from 2011 to 2019.
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