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Dance@Noon enraptures audience in a series of dynamic performances

By Andreea Timis, December 23 2023—

The University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts presented Dance@Noon, a sequence of dance programs choreographed by BFA Dance students in their third year at the University Theatre on Dec. 4, 5 and 6. This marks the first time Dance@Noon is featured as part of UofC’s Movement Research Festival (MoRF). Dance@Noon featured 12 different programs between all three days, with eight programs shown per day. 

The Aftermath of Something Lethal

This ominous, thrilling piece demonstrates the mental repercussions associated with murder. The dancers wore red gloves to represent the fatal act and the program contained lots of carefully crafted hand movements that matched its synth-pop melody. In this story, four dancers struggle with remorse while the fifth remains guiltless. The lighting fades to red as the program intensifies and the remorseless dancer resists her companions’ efforts to coerce her into repentance. In the end, the dancers throw away their gloves, with the exception of the remorseless dancer who keeps hers in a powerful concluding statement. 


Unarguably the most sombre program, Integration illustrates how vulnerable humans can be to manipulations. One dancer represents the human psyche and clutches herself tightly in a show of suffering. The other two dancers represent manipulators in disguise, as is highlighted by their ironic all-white costumes. They circle the first dancer like prey, pressuring her to give in to their conniving ways until she matches their movements and becomes one with them. Combined with the sinister music, this program effectively had the audience on the edge of their seats. 


This program focuses on exploring the word ‘interlinked’. Using dialogue from Blade Runner: 2049, the dancers perform the program while questioning “what is/how does one interlink?”. Their movements at the start of the program were very jerky and awkward, as though they didn’t understand the meaning of ‘interlinked’. As the program went on, the idea of ‘interlinked’ instead turned into ‘interconnected’ and ‘interact’ and the dancers’ movements became more fluid, demonstrating the connections between one another without physically touching each other. One random detail I found very entertaining was the unique way in which the dancers showed the idea of ‘interlinked’ by choosing to wear one another’s socks. 

Book of Thoughts

The story in this program is told through the chapters of life of one of the dancers. We follow this dancer’s growth within the dance world as she goes from doubting herself in the first two chapters, “Passion” and “Touch”, to gaining confidence in the third chapter, “Loyalty”. Where she had once screamed “I’m not good enough!”, she now firmly tells herself to “stop overthinking”, with the support of her two fellow dancers who had believed in her from the start. This was definitely a story I felt many people could apply to their own lives. The fact that the chapters all represented intangible obstacles made the message that much more powerful. The program ends with the three dancers reaching the fourth chapter of the untold future. 


Hive is a moving piece regarding the search for acceptance of one’s identity. The program starts off with all four dancers walking robotically across the stage in a sort of worker bee manner fitting to the title of the piece. The dancers move in sync, representing the isolating effects of conformity. Near the end, we see them fight to embrace their individuality, shown by the change in choreography as they begin to dance independently of one another. The unforeseen bittersweet ending left me pleasantly surprised. Three of the dancers eventually fell prey to conformity while only one dancer remained dancing individually. 

Serenity Now

In Serenity Now, a dancer sits in a meditative state while two angel/devil characters distract her with contradicting statements. A fourth dancer represents the meditator’s random thoughts, adding a fair share of comic relief throughout the program. The meditator takes turns waltzing with the angel and devil as she battles a mental tug-of-war between positivity and pessimism. The music fades as she breaks free in a show of finally taking control of her own life. Dramatic, passionate and light-hearted, Serenity Now contains a little something for everybody to relate to.


This program takes us through the complexities of the labyrinth of solitude. The four dancers take turns covering their eyes as the other three watch sorrowfully and attempt to help. The soundtrack in the background repeats the words “find our way, solitude”. What I found unique about this program is that it showcases all the different ways that people experience solitude. For example, some dancers needed help to break free, while others took longer to accept help. The program ends with the soundtrack now repeating the word “found” and the dancers wrapped up in a heartwarming group hug. 

Fascination of Female

Individuality takes on a new meaning in Fascination of Female. The program explores the power of a confident woman in the spotlight. She dazzles the other three dancers by showing off her allure under the rosy-red lighting of the stage. The dancers watch as the woman captures the audience’s attention and strives to match her graceful movements. My favorite part was when the main dancer left the stage and the other three were left to dance individually, giving them an opportunity to discover their own style. When the main dancer returned, all four began moving in sync, now in a perfect combination of independence and solidarity. 


Threat combines dance movements with sequences of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in an attempt to capture the gruelling give-and-take notion associated with combat sports. In this interactive piece, the dancers seem magnetically drawn to each other as they find themselves caught in a reciprocating mental “battle”. What was especially interesting about this program was the unique way in which the dancers presented their individual struggles. What started as a series of carefully calculated movements turned into less controlled, more desperate movements as the program – and the music – intensified towards the end. 

Time Takes

This program reminds us that time is not something we can turn back, and it either gives us or takes something away. This is highlighted by the unsettling ticking noises present throughout the program. One dancer is shown to be spinning in slow circles on center stage, demonstrating the dually slow and fast passage of time. Halfway through the program, the music stops and the ticking resumes as two of the dancers become the focus of an intense interaction in a battle with time. Two other dancers eventually join them and the four collapse on the floor, having lost the battle. One dancer remains, struggling to keep up with the increasingly fast-ticking music until she, too, loses the battle and collapses. 

its not u, its me.

In its not u, its me., the audience is invited to reflect on the complexities of romantic, platonic and familial relationships. This performance sparked my curiosity, as sometimes there was so much going on that you almost didn’t know where to look. Between three synth-pop songs all interwoven with Moulin Rouge’s “El Tango De Roxanne”, I struggled a bit to grasp how the music and choreography related to the message of the performance. The one thing that stood out to me, however, was all the hugging that occurred at random intervals as it helped me clearly see how friendships were evidently treasured in this program. 

The Garden

A soft violin music is used to introduce the story behind The Garden. The dancers wore mostly browns or darker greens to demonstrate the diversity found within a garden, and their gentle movements represent the beauty of nature. Overall, the program does a fantastic job of presenting the balance between the uniqueness of the species found within a garden (shown by dancers’ individual movements) versus how these species interact with one another (synchronized, grouped movements that demonstrate the interplay between species). 
More information on Dance@Noon can be found on the UCalgary website.

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