FARMINGTON – University of Farmington Dancers, a performing, modern dance company, visited students in a group dynamics course at the Lewiston-Auburn campus of the University of Southern Maine on Monday.

The dancers’ participation culminated in an hourlong demonstration of interpretive dance, highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusion.

The dance course, Dance 350, has been offered over the past 28 years, and the general focus is acceptance and inclusion through movement. UMF Dancers Artistic Director Margaret Gould-Wescott chose the novel ‘Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow’ by Franco-Algerian author Faiza Guene to study.

The novel’s themes, alienation and isolation of the main character Doria, the Muslim heroine, in the poor Paris projects are expressed through flow and movement to a selection of blues, jazz and modern music.

“One of the assignments that the dancers had to do was create a solo dance, either about alienation or connection, or about both of them as it relates to their own life,” Gould-Wescott explained.

The strained, slow guitar chords of Muddy Waters played as the dancers changed techniques upon Gould-Wescott’s instruction in the lounge on the upper level of the campus’ main building.

Using different dance techniques, the dancers learn how to use space, time, force or energy and flow. As they progress they learn to act out problems or scenarios presented to them in different ways; the motto in the dance company is Expect the Unexpected. Some of the techniques used are follow the leader, shadowing and herding, all methods requiring more than one person to be acting or expressing at the same time.

The audience, mostly made up of students at L-A College, watched the performance and interacted by trying to identify what was being acted out. The troupe performs at schools, using single words or images shown only to them, and then interprets them through dance.

Seeing people and situations at more than face value is the underlying theme. “We are all aliens in some ways,” Gould-Wescott said.

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