Dancing hurt

Movements in Truth

Mirva Makinen, Hank Sichley and Tara Rynders choreograph the dance theater piece <i>Movements in Truth</i>.

Mirva Makinen, Hank Sichley and Tara Rynders choreograph the dance theater piece Movements in Truth.

Photo By David Robert

Most of us don’t miss being 17 or the confused passion and the hapless struggle with acceptance and self-esteem that go along with it. But the awkward pain makes for great dance.

“Anthems for a 17-Year-Old Girl” is just one of seven dances that will be performed in Movements in Truth, one of Artown’s featured “Dancing in the Park” presentations. The performance joins choreographers Tara Rynders and Mirva Makinen in a revealing, personal performance.

For Rynders, the song “Anthems” by the up-and-coming indie band Broken Social Scene is the perfect social commentary on the superficiality that comes with adolescence.

“There’s so much going on when you’re 17,” says the 26-year-old University of Nevada, Reno, student. “You’re so scared of being different.”

During a rehearsal of this piece, Rynders instructs seven UNR students to really try to look ugly. As the eerie, electronic whisper chants over the banjo-heavy anthem, the dancers drag their hands down their faces in the most unattractive manner possible. Rynders says this took a lot of practice.

“These are down-to-earth girls, and it was still hard for them to make themselves ugly,” she says. “It’s just part of our culture; we never want to look bad.”

Rynders says this is an important part of the symbolic dance because even if teens feel ugly and insecure on the inside, they still feel they have to look good on the outside. The dance deals with some serious issues, but it’s also playful and fun.

While most of the pieces in Movements in Truth would be considered modern dance, Rynders would not call “Anthems” a modern piece.

“It’s fast, jazzy movements,” she says.

Rynders choreographed two other pieces for the performance, both far more personal than the generalized message presented in “Anthems.” In her dance solo performed to the song “Mole” by the Mountain Goats, she uses dance as a healing process, dancing to deal with emotions brought about by her brother’s problems.

“My brother is in jail for crystal meth,” Rynders says. “His addiction has been an eye-opener for me. Your own brother stealing thousands of dollars from someone he loves—from you. I think this dance helps me bring out the emotions I didn’t even know were there.”

Her other group piece, “Storyboard,” was choreographed to represent her life as her parents went through a divorce.

“Any good dancer becomes what they’re dancing,” Rynders says. “It was a good healing process for me. Going back brought out all these emotions, and I have to re-deal with it every time.”

When Rynders was putting the production together, she called on Hank Sichley and Mirva Makinen (a renowned choreographer who came from Finland for the occasion) to choreograph other pieces in Movements in Truth. Such pieces include Makinen’s 17-minute group piece called “Fly Bird” and an improvised piece by Makinen and Sichley.

Unlike Rynders, Makinen does not like to reveal the meaning of her dances.

“I’m not going to tell the message because I want people to see what they see," she says. "I have my own meaning, but I want people to see it for themselves."