Dancers extend beyond the stage in virtual performances: UNM Newsroom



A year ago, dancers and choreographers in the Department of Theater and Dance at the University of New Mexico were ready to host their annual spring show when the whole country closed due to the pandemic. A year later, the pandemic loosens its grip on the country and the university but still makes large gatherings risky, so the department has gone virtual again for the spring event.

Get closer, a film featuring work by graduate and undergraduate student choreographers from the UNM Dance Program, was curated by co-artistic directors Brianna figueroa, assistant dance teacher and MFA candidate Amy schofield. The presentation features the work of six students, who have created and filmed their own segments, using the lens to bring viewers closer together at a time when distance and COVID separate us.

“Of course the dance program wanted to present live concerts, and we were hoping and hoping that the circumstances would change so that we could do that. Again though, not only was it reckless to have too many sweaty and hard-breathing dancers (even though they were masked) in one space, we also couldn’t in good conscience bring an audience into the room. our theater, ”Figueroa noted, adding: Each segment is an original work by a student, conceived, performed and edited.

The pandemic and virtual production presented a challenge to the group but in the end they managed to overcome it.

“The dancers showed great adaptability as their physical practice, which once performed in the community, entered the virtual space,” Figueroa said. “It was difficult for all of us, myself included, because we’re so used to working together in the room and responding to each other’s energy, literally and metaphysically. On the other hand, I really appreciate some of the developments that I saw coming out of our student’s exploration of virtual dance. They really rose to the challenge and leaned into their unique artistic voices.

According to the video’s introduction, “These compositions build effect, incite curiosity and approach the body with notable generosity and vulnerability. Following the insight of author and activist Adrienne Maree Brown, “Generosity here means giving what you have without conditions or expectations. Vulnerability is showing your needs. ‘ In his emerging strategy, Brown calls on all of us to nurture our communities, shape our future, and ask ourselves: “Do you actively show generosity and vulnerability in order to make the connections between you and others clear, open, available, sustainable? ‘We reflect on these words as we share this film and see these courageous artists projecting themselves into the future with clarity and meaning. Come Closer was produced in accordance with Safe Practices for COVID, as outlined by the CDC. “

One of the aspects of virtual presentations is that the performers are not confined to a stage but can instead go from the rooftops of Las Vegas to the Center of the Universe.

In Pleasure?, the first segment of Get closer, dancer Sarah Groth performs on a climax We were two by La Femme. “What is pleasure? Is it the wind blowing through your hair? Your skin being affected. The sun on your body. Or is it the breaking of worldly patterns? The feeling of comfort after the loss. Work, endless work, to get what you want.

Choreographer and dancer Evelyn Mendoza walks to the center of the universe as she performs TO CANCEL. The videography is by Jordon Cruz and JC the Creator; video and sound are edited by Mendoza and JC the Creator.

Choreographer Rebecca Huppenthal and dancers Zach Frongillo and Katrina Gilmer perform in Las Vegas in sinner, where they dance in locations ranging from the iconic Bellagio fountain to the roof of a parking lot. The song sinner is performed by Nina Simone. Filming is by Huppenthal and Cara Hewitt.

Flamenco in the spotlight in Between Melodies. Choreographer Madison Olguin dances to an original composition by flamenco guitarist Eloy Gonzales. The videographer and the editing are by Jordan Olguin.

“In Between Melodies we played creating an equal space for dance and guitar and as a result we found ourselves giving and responding to each other. This way of incorporating only two elements of flamenco, dance and guitar, sparked a new and stimulating way of creating, made the process enjoyable and gave us the opportunity to integrate our art.

Choreographer and dancer Martin Quintana evokes an ambiance of Frida Kahlo and performs a pas de deux with a sliding closet door in A return to … Her friend Tanya Bautista participated in the project. Baila! Baila! The director of the Dance Academy, Israela Garcia, helped coordinate the costumes.

Dancer and choreographer Allysa Trujillo and her partner Raven Bright perform on the sparkling expanse of dunes of White Sands in here. A dance film by Trujillo. The music is Where you belong by Petit Dragon.

here. is about the meaningful moments we share with the people we love and the ways we keep those moments alive through our memory. Whether it’s through death, separation, or just the passing of time, our memory (conscious or unconscious) is what makes love eternal, causing us to make more moments that build new memories. A friend once gave me a quote that said, “What is beautiful never dies but passes to other beauties.” (Thomas B. Aldrich) I didn’t understand it at first, but it stuck with me and over time its meaning became deeper.

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