Confluence: Dances inspired by the Spokane River

By Sam Jackson, Reporter

Confluence: Dances inspired by the Spokane River, is a collaborative production with multiple EWU alumni and Spokane locals that will premiere April 20 at the Bing Crosby Theater.

The concert is presented by Vytal Movement Dance Company, a young up and coming professional dance company in Spokane. The founding director of Vytal Movement Dance Company and choreographer for the dances in the concert is Vincas Greene.  Greene is also a lecturer at EWU and teaches dance classes in theater. Greene graduated from EWU in 1989.

Greene chose to relate the dances to the river because he says it’s something everyone can relate to in Spokane.

“It’s inspired by the river, you can come and look at these dances and go, ‘oh I see it looks like river movement or I see certain part of the river,’  just so people can really grasp that’s what it is,” Greene said. “It’s not deep with other meanings there, there are other things in there and you can dig into it as much as you want. You can also just think, okay I get this, it also has something to do with the river and it’s nice to look at. So that’s why I went with that and it’s something about Spokane that pervades the whole city.”

Greene’s process of discovering inspiration required him to spend a lot of time being by the river. Greene constantly found himself walking along the river in different areas. He even did some research on the river and visited the Spokane river keepers for more information.

“I tried to translate the movement that I saw and the feelings that I get from the river into movement on the human body,” said Greene. “So there are things that can look very rivery or things that look flowing […] I take that movement, I put it on the dancers and then I start to manipulate it, move it around, change timings on things, turn it facing different ways, and make it upside down. All of those different tools that a choreographer uses to come up with something that I aesthetically like.”

Another EWU alum involved in the production is Margaret Francik, who graduated in spring 2016 with a bachelor’s degree of Music in Composition. Margaret is composing a piece for one of the dances that will be performed. The instrumentation for the piece is for violin, cello and bassoon which will be played by a family trio involved in the music department at EWU, Dr. Lynne Feller-Marshall, Dr. John Marshall and their son James Marshall.

“So far it’s kind of been a piece where I’m trying to evoke not only the river and the constant motion and sort of the swirls of it, but also I’m trying to incorporate the nonriver elements that affect the way the water moves and the way it moves through the city,” said Francik. “So in my mind when I was exploring the river I looked at the way that light played on the water or maybe snatches of conversation that you could hear while walking next to people along the river.”

In preparation for the production, Francik was able to admire the choreography they produced for her music and the choreography for the other pieces of music that will be showcased.

“It’s really interesting choreography and nothing like I’ve ever seen before,” said Francik. “Each scene evokes the river in a different way. I am obviously very excited to see how it comes together with my music but I am really excited just to see the whole thing and kind of what he has created in terms of the array of things he is going portray that relate to the river, because it looks really exciting.”

The concert will feature multiple dances, two new dances that are inspired by the river, two dances that Greene premiered last year called “Awakenings” and a light-hearted dance that offers a humorous look at swimming with music by Antonio Vivaldi. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the event are $22 prior to the concert and $25 the day of the concert and are available for purchase through TicketsWest.