Concert Review: Co’Motion Dance presents “Mozart in the Closet”

Producer of Co’Motion Dance Theater Valerie Williams directs a group of dancers during the rehearsal for Mozart in the Closet on Feb. 27 in the Toman Studio.

Mike Burvee

Dim lights, a projected colorful backdrop and the sound of Mozart softly in the background set the stage for the upcoming performance. Professional dancers as well as professional amateur dancers are about to perform “Mozart in the Closet”, a modern dance interpretation of Mozart.

Valerie Williams, the director of the Co’Motion dance crew, comes onto the stage to explain the title to the audience.

“The title Mozart in the closet originates from back when I was in music theory class,” Williams said. “We had to memorize the sheet music as well as who composed it and I had trouble distinguishing Mozart from Beethoven. Mozart’s in the closet, let him out, let him out, let him out. That’s where the title of this performance came from.”

Tempo, facial expressions and body movement helped determine the emotions shown by the dancers. Most of the musical pieces were performed as group choreographed movements, mostly by the professional dancers, whereas the professional amateur dancers performed more of an interpretive dance.

One interesting approach involved the use of silhouettes during performances, which magnified the dancers’ movements on the backdrop.

Another playful action that Williams took was audience incorporation. Near the end of the piece called “Parlour Murders,” the dancers went out and grabbed a member of the audience and used them as props, basically dancing around them.

Only a couple dances featured both professional amateur dancers and professional dancers. The pieces that featured the professionals appeared to be more active including acrobatics and were more about group choreography.

Dances by both groups seemed to have a follow the leader type of dance, where one member would do some movement which would then be mimicked by the other dancers.

“Mozart was quite snide, and I try to show that in these dances,” Williams said.

The next performance by the Co’Motion dance group is part of the Neon Boa Series. This music will feature more instrumental music such as French horns and featuring Matthew Coley playing Marimba. The event will be on April 2 at the Toman Studio in Forker Hall.