Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

When words fail, dance

The old saying “actions speak louder than words,” is easily applicable to the performers of DanceScapes 2024. Whereas most public performers use the art of spoken language to express themselves, artists like Bryce Giammo, Bri Allehoff, and Pate Nassalang, prefer to use the language of dance. These artists explained their love of the art form and more.

“I feel like words aren’t necessary to send a message across and I feel like words can often get jumbled,” explained Giammo. “With actions and movements it’s really about showing off what you mean rather than speaking about what you mean which I feel sends a bigger message than words ever can.”

Performers kick their feet in the 2024 Dance Scapes show inside Light Recital Hall in UW-Whitewater’s Greenhill Center of the Arts, March 15, 2024. (Eric Appleton)

Giammo was one of the choreographers who had the opportunity to spread his message, which, in his case, took the form of his piece entitled “Error,” a warning against the continued misuse of technology, primarily, social media and how it has been used for cyberbullying. 

Another one of the choreographers Bri Allehoff stated that for her solo piece, rather than aiming to send a specific message, she wanted to show a feeling. 

“I want to spread a feeling to the audience about my love and passion for dance, and the warmth I feel from dance,” she said. 

As for her group piece, Allehoff goes with the flow of her peers to connect with audiences.

“I don’t really like to have a message,” she said. “I kind of base it off of the music and how I am feeling in that moment and in that way a message is formed about people struggling and trying to connect with others, but there is a difficulty doing so.”

She went on to explain that one of her previous pieces that had to do with the idea of “water” was, in her view, misunderstood by the judges who, in an attempt to find the message of the piece, failed to see that she was not trying to go for anything specific. But upon further reflection, she considered it part of the beauty of trying to understand art seeing as how many people could come to many different interpretations of an artist’s work.

The group also had the honor of performing with Afro-jazz and lindy hop dance instructor Pate Patrice Nassalang, originally from Senegal, Africa, who has been dancing professionally for nearly 19 years, but according to him, has been dancing his entire life.

Nassalang is part of of the dance instructor company Cream City Swing based in Milwaukee which seeks to not only teach and honor the Black American history of jazz music and dance, but to cultivate an inclusive and supportive community through the education and promotion of lindy hop and social swing era dances. Nassalang states that many enslaved African Americans did not have the chance to express themselves vocally, and so he chose to do the same thing. He now promotes that message through new technologies as well. 

“I have social media that I use to show the link between jazz and African dance, and that is what interests people,” said Nassalang. “Through opportunities like this at UW-Whitewater, I am able to go out there and express, and perform, and teach like that.” 

Indeed, each number on display at DanceScapes 2024 encoded a unique message through movement for attendees to take home with them after the shared experience of live performing arts.

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About the Contributor
Liam Delmore, Arts & Recreation Journalist

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