“False Front,” choreographed by Tamara Dyke-Compton, was one of the highlights of the fall concert, Premium Blend. “False Front” debuted in 2015 and was not only restaged for this season’s performance but found a new meaning.
“The original concept of the piece was about how people put up a front to keep going, no matter the struggles they are going through,” said Dyke-Compton, interim artistic director at the School of Dance. “As humans we are always pushed to continue to keep going, not stopping, not sharing.” She wanted to bring light to the importance of letting people into the struggles we all have.
The theme for Premium Blend, an annual fall showcase, is honoring veterans on campus. The dance concept has stayed true to itself, but now is performed by a cast of all genders and took a shift and in that found a deeper meaning.
“When Jory Hancock (former School of Dance director) asked me if I could relate it to the veterans and honoring them. I was thinking about the weight of the skirts (that the dancers are wearing), and what that weight represents.”
‘False Front’ finds new meaning
The concept then became metaphorical. The skirt came to represent the American flag, specifically, the one that is folded and given to the grieving spouse. There is absolutely weight to that.
The piece is called “False Front” for a reason.
“That’s exactly what you do when you lose somebody,” Dyke-Compton said. “You are grieving, but you never really truly get over that grief, you just continue to move on with your life, putting up a front. That grief is always there, you always feel it.”
The concept was previously about personal fronts, it now represents how humans hide the collateral emotions accompanied by the loss of a loved one, and keep moving on.
“It gave the piece a deeper meaning, and a deeper intention. More for the dancers and the audience to connect to.”
The piece is a part of the first live shows that the School of Dance has performed post-pandemic.
“Because of what we have all gone through with the pandemic, I feel like we are more in tune with our needs. It’s ok to share. The pandemic made us stop and slow down.”
Dyke-Compton felt it was important for the students to experience the concepts revealed in the dance as well, because it provides healing.
Last year’s COVID protocols required dancers to move within 12’x12’ taped-out squares, which did not allow for dancers to safely do bigger, traveling movements. This return to moving as a group fosters a connection between the dancers.
“It’s a big moving piece, an ensemble piece, moving not as a dancer, but as one. The piece does not survive without each [dancer] together.”
The connection that is felt between the dancers is poured over into the audience. The relationship between audience and performers hasn’t been present, and this year’s Premium Blend, is the perfect recipe to create space for that connection.
“There is something that happens to the audience member when they are in the house, you are able to transport that audience member.” Compton said, “That person is immersed in that creation, and they are moved by art.”
The same thing happens for the dancer. “The energy becomes a moving art form. That’s the exciting thing about dance, it is always evolving.”