Oct. 27—Kennesaw State University Department of Dance will present Carte Blanche from Nov. 11-12 at the KSU Dance Theater on the Marietta campus at 8 p.m.
With roots in French, the phrase carte blanche can mean a blank check or having full discretionary power. Oxford Language defines it as "complete freedom to act as one wishes or thinks best." In the case of this innovative dance production, it means creative freedom and expression in both the choreography and movement.
"This production grows out of our emphasis upon creative freedom, and rigorous training," said Marsha Barsky, Chair of the Department of Dance and Associate Professor. "The resulting work, like this one, becomes a showcase for experimentation and growth."
Faculty and students not only have permission to be creative but are openly encouraged to do so.
Carte Blanche features KSU Dance students performing in works choreographed by a guest artist and three faculty members.
Artistic Director and Associate Professor of Dance Lisa K. Lock says that Carte Blanche was always "an invitation to create freely, as it's not theme related. Each choreographer can dig into their strengths and interests."
Patrons may notice that Lock's piece Undercurrent is very much movement driven.
"My dancers are the undercurrent; there is electricity there," Lock said. "The work is driven forward—not in a linear way like a story—but travels
through ebbs and flows."
Jamal Kamau White, guest artist for Fall 2022, likes to tell a story with his choreography. He says of his process that "most of the time, when I meet the dancers and we talk, I try to figure out where they are in their lives, and we go from there. We will find the story first, then make the movements, then find the music to help support it."
With assistance from Limited Term Assistant Professor Billy Hawkains III, White explains that his piece, Catastrophe: A Nightmare, examines guilt and how it exists within the human experience and is accompanied by an original soundscape.
"Our discoveries allowed us to create a multidisciplinary piece that depicts guilt as a living being, growing and feasting on its host," White said.
Other works include Professor McCree O'Kelley's Sakura, celebrating the ephemeral beauty of the cherry blossom, and Professor Autumn Eckman's Diptych.
Diptych was inspired by a series of sketches by artist Sapira Cheuk titled Pas de Deux, in the time of quarantine (2020). Eckman notes that "Our post-pandemic society offers a unique opportunity to examine our social, physical, and emotional interactions with a renewed sense of awareness. Diptych explores such interactions and changes in everyday life patterns while honoring the value of close-tie relationships and their influence on well-being."
Lock can't wait for the performances because "we have a strong cast in the show. I can't wait to share these works, this whole evening with the audience. It's a nice opportunity to be open-minded and allow yourself to absorb whatever you see."
"At KSU Dance, our work is to invoke elements from the long history of genres—in this case, ballet—while at the same time, fostering innovation. We aim to develop our students' rigor and technique, while pushing the boundaries of creative expression," Barsky said.
Carte Blanche will be performed Nov. 11-12 at 8 p.m. at the KSU Dance Theater on the Marietta campus.