It was an ambitious dance performance. Dreamcatcher took several years of planning and most of an academic year to prepare for the 1995 production in Strider Theater. Now, after 15 years of repose in the Theater and Dance Department video archives and two summers of meticulous editing, Dreamcatcher is a feature-length video (1:23 run time) offering a new and distinct aesthetic experience.
Coedited by Theater and Dance Technical Director John Ervin and Emerita Professor of Theater and Dance Tina Wentzel, who directed the original performance, Dreamcatcher earned two showings (July 17 and 21) the Maine International Film Festival, July 13-22, in Waterville. The festival’s program calls the work, “A fantasy on the art of dreaming as seen through the lens of contemporary dance … now reworked into a beautiful collage of filmic artistry and live performance.” It concludes, “This is a captivating and beautiful reliving of a true masterwork.”
Wentzel had her dancers study Jungian dream theory, keep journals, and share their dreams to build more than a dozen dance segments. “The student involvement gave it a lot of depth,” Ervin said. Dancers performed the works for multiple cameras under the direction of cinematographer Paul Gregoire, who worked in Media Services at the time.
Editing with software unavailable when the footage was captured, Wentzel and Ervin used the multiple perspectives for layered images and split screen segments that reinforce the ethereal and sensuous nature of the dream states portrayed. Where but a dream would a dancer spin right and left at once, superimposed on herself? Besides showing members of the classes of 1994-97 (now in their 30s) as students, the film offers an arresting, extended solo by Holly Labbe ’94, now a professional choreographer and dancer.
The 15th annual Maine International Film Festival has other films with Colby connections, including Mon noM, a lighthearted Belgian documentary exploring the meaning of identity, with all music scored by Colby’s Applied Music Associate Carl Dimow and performed by Dimow and his klezmer group the Casco Bay Tummlers.