Breaking the fourth wall

Orcheses dancers getting together in a circle.

Val A. Browning Center audience members sat and watched the beginning of an Orchesis Dance Theatre piece when someone’s phone went off with a full-volume ringtone despite already being reminded at the start of the show to silence all phones.

Instead of the audience member silencing their phone, they got up and proceeded to answer the call off to the side of the theater. Audience members, now annoyed, listened to him tell the caller that he couldn’t talk, and he didn’t know where they left their boots. Several “Shh!” and “Take it to the lobby!” comments came from audience members, but all were surprised when he walked onto the stage and started performing a dance.

The fourth wall was broken, and the audience was no longer separated from the performers at Orchesis Dance Theatre’s performance of Bloom Rising. The performances took place from Nov. 3-5 in the Browning Center at Weber State University.

The audience sat at the edge of the stage, creating opportunities to be up close and personal with dancers. Juan Carlos Claudio, co-director of Orchesis Theatre, said that without the audience, there would be no performance.

The dancers captured this sentiment by including the audience in their performances. In some pieces, performers came into the audience dancing and encouraged the audience to clap and participate. Other times, the audience inserted themselves, like when the performer had a phone call. In most pieces, performers looked to the audience like they were sharing their thoughts.

One piece had the dancers talking for the majority of the performance. The dancers didn’t talk about anything in particular — it ranged from the Bill Nye theme song, to their favorite characters, to corn not having juice.

Caleb Garrett, an audience member, enjoyed this piece because it brought a bit of comedy to the performance and was almost childlike storytelling.

The pieces performed also used a variety of different ways to communicate diversity and inclusion.

Another piece included recordings from students talking about change they wished to see in a variety of subjects. Topics ranged from missing Native American women, protecting the dreamers, mental illness and more.

There was also an aerial silk performance that had audience members on the edge of their seats.

Kathryn Green, a WSU alumni and audience member, said she saw the global impact of dance and how beautiful the communication is. Green also said the piece talking about mental illness gave her a lot of hope for the future.

“Honestly, for me, how much meaning and emotion you can put into dance is so fascinating,” Rebekah Braden, an audience member, said. “I am not a dancer, and to see what people can do with their bodies and the stories they can tell is just incredible.”

The performance ended with a cultural piece celebrating Afro-Panamanian culture choreographed by Karlies Kelley.

The piece celebrated people’s connection to the four elements of water, fire, earth and air, along with showcasing the Afro-Panamanian culture.

Performers were vocal and cheering each other on throughout the whole performance and encouraging audience members to also call out.

Being led by the live bongo players, the lively performance ended the night and had audience members clapping and cheering the whole time.

Orchesis’ next performance, Dancing In the Stream, begins Nov 21.