By Samantha Johnson
I had the absolute pleasure of coordinating this year’s New Dancers Showcase alongside artistic director, Karl Rogers. In hopes of reflecting on this stunning performance more vividly, I asked our first year graduate students (and this year’s New Dancers Showcase choreographers) to reflect briefly upon their experience working with our 32 new dancers. Here is just a sampling of their responses.
“Choreographing for the New Dancers Showcase was such an incredible experience. My dancers are so dedicated and they made my job as choreographer easy and enjoyable. My piece turned into quite the hodgepodge; mixing tap, modern, jazz and even some Brazilian influence. It has been fascinating watching my dancers bring the choreography to life.!”
“It has been a privilege to work with such bold, talented young artists. As a choreographer, I opened up rehearsal as a time and place for suggestions and ideas from the artists. I found they were oozing with possibilities. What made this process rewarding was the fact that each dancer made significant contributions to the piece. Specifically, a large movement phrase from Nate Diaz, music by Matt De Luca, and titled by Glenna Kelehan. The other artists offered suggestions in rehearsal that literally formulated the dance. I became interested in the way each dancer could convincingly dance hip hop and then switch to something different immediately. We explored turning types of movement on and off. We also explored underlying themes involving how we as human beings feel the need to “turn on” during certain interactions, and then when do we feel comfortable enough to ‘turn off’?”
“My piece titled ADHITTANA means perseverance in the language of Pali Buddhism. I think this word describes me well in my current experience of being thousands of miles away from home and trying to adjust and adapt with the circumstances here. My experience was distinctively new and exciting because I could work with amazing dancers from a different culture!”
“Choreographing for the New Dancers Showcase was a fun and rewarding experience. Seeing the students grow throughout this process into receptive, accomplished, captivating performers was truly priceless. Serving as a mentor, pushing the students to tap into their creative and physical potential developed a bond and friendship that I hope will continue to flourish for the next several years. I can’t wait to see what they will become throughout the remainder of their time here at Brockport.
My work INTERtribal was an expression of my personal interests in movement generation. The piece was inspired by integrating Native American characteristics common among my own cultural, with elements of contemporary and hip hop dance. The music, a hybrid of traditional Native American music and dup-step, electronic dance music, served as the driving force of the work. The dancers truly embraced my way of moving and performed with all of their fierce, warrior-like energy. I couldn’t be more proud!”
We could not be more thrilled with the work of all of our new undergraduate and graduate students. I, personally, am honored to have worked with each individual and am excited to welcome them to the Brockport Dance family!