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Fall 2021 Dance + Choreography Seniors Set the Tone

VCUarts Dance + Choreography is pleased to present Set the Tone: Class of Frequency, the 2021 Fall Senior Project Concerts. Friday + Saturday, November 5 + 6, 2021, 7:30 pm @The Anderson, 907 1/2 W. Franklin St. (Sara Dellinger and Keola Jones) and Friday + Saturday, November 19 + 20, 2021, 7:30 pm @The Grace Street Theater, 934 W. Grace St. (Erika Belcher, Becca Gargiulo, Alexiana James, Joie Mouran, Sara Grace, Taylor Peters, Nia Reynolds, MiKayla Young). All performances are FREE. Masks are required. Call 804-828-2020 for information. Reserve tickets for Nov 5 + 6 performances here.

The VCU Dance & Choreography Senior Class of Fall 2021 invites you to step into the creative processes of ten emerging choreographers as we produce a two-part evening of capstone projects. Set the Tone: Class of Frequency, is the culmination of four years of study in technique and creative classes, and demonstrates our efforts to develop our individual creative voices. Set the Tone speaks to how our class continues to envision evolved, nuanced ways in which dance can interact with our communities and live within our world, and Class of Frequency speaks to the ways in which each of us are activating our energy and research in these spaces- each with their own tone and frequency.

November 5 + 6 performances will feature two site-based works at VCU’s The Anderson. In collaboration with the performers, Sara Dellinger’s “~ ~ ~ ” explores personal and interpersonal dissonance and connection through the lens of suminagashi – Japanese paper marbling. By imagining the practice of suminagashi as a visual translation of energy movement within the body, we can better learn how to move in and out of each others’ spaces and transform dissonance into moments of connection. 

In Sonder, Keola Jones demonstrates tension and unrest as the result of devaluing someone’s reality. She encourages the practice of empathy to promote solidarity and the realization that everyone’s reality is unique, complex, and equally valid as your own.

Grace Street Theater performances on November 19 + 20 will feature both live dances and dance films.

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had chosen this instead of that? Erika Belcher’s Have We Met? explores the idea of multiple realities – that every choice we have made in our lives has led us to this moment in time. If we had chosen differently, our realities would be completely altered. The piece demonstrates how different realities can coexist based on specific choices, actions, and connections through the use of partner work, gestural patterns, and concise musicality.

In presently purple, Becca Gargiulo explores the concept of nostalgia, diving into memory, time, and the emotional effects of the two intermingling. Via expressive, flowing movement and evocative sound, she weaves a portal inviting the audience to journey through their own nostalgic memories

In Sacred Chaos, Sarah Grace invites you into a new and old world of exploring myths through movement. Eight dancers tell the Norse myth of Ragnarök, the end of the world. The piece begins with the end of the world, followed by a descent into Hell, and finally the myth’s resolution. All of her dancers share power in their movement while still maintaining their individuality. 

In her film, The Middle Of The World, Alexiana James explores movement based on the textures and motions of the ocean. She has developed a story told through vulnerability, anxiety, and fear. Her nine dancers imitate what lies beneath the surface while building an immersive experience through film.

BLK IS… by Joie Mouran explores the ever-evolving layers of Blackness while also highlighting Black womanhood.  This celebration showcases the themes of pride, comfort, and community while emphasizing the many diversities of the Black stature and Black hair, as Mouran feels these ideals are pivotal to the upbringing of young Black women.

In Taylor Peters’s new film, Joie de Vivre, the dancers showcase emotional electricity and human energy, taking the audience through the emotions of sadness, happiness, anger, laziness, flirtatiousness, and drama. The dancers’ own emotions and energies spark a light in their movements, demonstrating their passion and skill. 

While creating a conceptual fantasy absorbing inspiration from her North Carolina roots, Nia Reynolds’s untitled dance film explores the physicality of movement expressed from an aerial and grounded experience. The work also investigates how sounds influence choice and the sustained subtle flow of movement. By exploring a range of sounds and developing fashion garments, Reynolds seeks to understand how these elements embody and develop characters/personas together. 

In her novel Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison writes, “If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it,” speaking volumes about allowing issues and problems to disappear. In and we go, MiKayla Young asks, So what if I surrendered to the air? If I could escape all my problems through flight? Take a huge jump and allow the mystique of what’s above the clouds to sweep me away? Young’s work explores through movement what is beyond the clouds and what one’s personal paradise may look like.

The fall 2021 Senior Project Concerts are the third event in the VCUarts Dance + Choreography 40th Anniversary Season, featuring new works for stage, screen, and other sites by students, faculty, and guest artists.