Ohio University students will take over Central Venue, 29 E. Carpenter St., on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9.
Lily Gelfand, a senior studying dance in the Honors Tutorial College, will perform an evening-length work, which is about 35 to 40 minutes long, as part of her thesis in collaboration with five other dancers as well as Seth Alexander, a musician who is a graduate student at OU. Gelfand does not participate in the dancing but will play the cello alongside Alexander who plays the vibraphone and drums.
The performance is free to the public and will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Maya Holcomb, a sophomore studying dance, said the group has worked well with each other throughout the process. Holcomb is one of the dancers who will perform.
“It’s very improvisational and experimental, and it’s very collaborative and it’s a good group of people to do that kind of stuff with because we’re all so open to trying weird things,” Holcomb said.
Throughout her thesis, Gelfand explores the topic of ”liminal space,” which is the transitional threshold between two fixed states in cultural rites of passage.
“It’s like this psychological concept ... a period of transcendence where someone is going from where they wanted to be mentally and emotionally, and to where they would like to be,” Gelfand said. "So it’s like this weird in-between area where they’re existing."
Gelfand said she has been really interested in performance spaces outside of studios and black box theaters where one would usually go to see dancers perform. Instead, she began looking for these “liminal spaces” around her.
“They’re usually like houses and I think just houses in general, especially in Athens, are just so beautiful and old and weird,” Gelfand said. “There’s always just like a bunch of stuff that’s... beautiful, but shouldn’t be there at all.”
Athens is another layer of transition, Gelfand said, as everyone who studies here just “passes through.”
Gelfand also described how she wanted the dancers to move naturally and include their movements within the choreography.
To do so, Gelfand had her dancers personally videotape themselves dancing and improvising by themselves. She then rewatched the tapes with the dancers and chose which movements she wanted to incorporate into her thesis.
“I wanted to work with kind of a more specific structure because there’s a million ways you can make a piece,” Gelfand said. “It’s a lot of layering different musical lines. I can take it out and I can put it back in, and with the challenge is ‘How do you make a piece of music for a piece that you’re choreographing?’”
Aysia Middlebrooks, a sophomore studying dance, who will also be dancing, said preparing for the performance has been a long process.
“I feel like as we’re wrapping it up, coming to the end, and once you finish you’re definitely like ‘This is nice. We just created something,’” Middlebrooks said.
At the end of the day, Gelfand said she’s not concerned if there are many attendees because the process of developing her thesis has taught her many skills, such as organization and building trust among performers.
“I like to think of it as an exploration or like an investigation of some sort,” Gelfand said.