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Title: Variations from the Bigsky 
Author: Helfert, Rebecca Jo
Date: 2008-08
Abstract: Variations from the Bigsky is a suite of dances that will consist of two previously performed works and three new pieces. "Field Ready", with music by Kimmie Rhodes and Willie Nelson; and "As I Lay", with music by Trent Reznor; have both been performed in Footholds concerts and are what I consider integral pieces of this dance puzzle. "Field Ready" is the story of a matriarch's life. Her family, the land she tends, and the children she bore. "As I Lay" specifically addresses the death of that matriarch, exploring the pain her passing imparts on a community as well as the joy her life has created. The duty of a matriarch however, is not just to tend to a family during her life, but also to give them the tools to effectively carry on after she has gone. The three new dances in this suite will peer into the lives of the generations left behind. "Under Starry Skies" is a female solo set to an old cowboy anthem that will explore the exuberance of youth experienced in a land with few visible boundaries. My childhood in Montana was somewhat picturesque. Summertime was a herd of young girls trekking through the woods in search of wild flowers - under the watchful eye of the family cow dog, who never let us stray too far from home. It was sunny afternoons on rubber tubes floating down a lazy creek. Or on allowance day, it was speeding through town on banana seated bikes with multicolored streamers fluttering from the handlebars, on our way to get a $0.99 root beer float at the A&W, where beautiful teenaged carhops ruled the day. They were days before death, before uncertainty, when everyone we loved was still alive and life's biggest worry was whether the snow cone vendor would be at the city pool tomorrow afternoon. "Under Starry Skies" will explore the freedom of a youth lived to its fullest. The second new section of this suite is an as yet untitled male/female duet that explores the support system created by two people in love. The creation of a family is a process that until two years ago, I didn't realize existed. Contrary to the old adage, a person can choose her family. Not the family she is born into, but the family that she will bear. I chose my husband and he chose me. What we have created so far in our short life together is not only a system of love and support for one another, but also a union of existing families. We are creating the cornerstone upon which future lives will be built, and this dance will explore that process. This duet will rely heavily on partnering, weight sharing, and ultimately the trust shared between two people. Intimacy between the two dancers will be imperative, which means that thoughtful casting is a must. The grande finale of this suite will be set to "Hoe Down". This selection will portray a grand celebration: a wedding, birthday, or even the lively luncheon that follows most Catholic funerals I attend. Because in the end, in spite of the death and pain and uncertainly, there is joy.
Description: Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008.
Pages/Duration: iv, 22 leaves
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/20354
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.

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