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VCUarts Dance NOW 2021

VCUarts Dance + Choreography is delighted to present VCUarts Dance NOW 2021, new work in the virtual space by students, faculty, and featuring a collaborative re-staging of Artist Journal by guest artists Urban Bush Women. Rotating programs will be screened online for four weeks: Fridays, February 19, 26, and March 5 and 12 at 7:00 pm EST. March 12 performance takes place at Zoom links for February 19, 26, and March 5 will be announced within 24 hours of the performances.

February 19: Urban Bush Women’s Artist Journal, collaboratively re-staged on VCU Dance majors, and new works by students Tamara Denson + Ashley Sese and recent graduate Megan Siepka.

Over two weeks in January, Urban Bush Women company members worked with VCUarts Dance students and faculty advisors to re-stage the company’s Artist Journal project. As described by UBW, “the Artist Journal is a sharing of our active research. We cite our bodies and our environment as reservoirs rich with experience and memory. By sharing family stories, recipes, and remedies – sitting among trees, waterways, and the Moon, we listen and excavate. There are practices for navigating discomfort, healing, and visioning onward that have charted the survival and progression of people of color. Many of these we know and exercise, others we seek to uncover. This is our navigation for Re-Membering and Restoring. In an open rehearsal setting, this Virtual (Zoom) event combines moments of informal performance, audience interaction and conversation, and a dance party. Our Artist Journal is an invitation into our creative and research-driven process of creating multidisciplinary work and offers an opportunity to reflect and connect with others around some of the ideas we are exploring.”

In Awake Asleep, student choreographer Tamara Denson utilizes editing and videography to question how people can perceive reality so differently. In Denson’s film, dancer Ashley Sese improvises her awakening to a journey in which the reality of life sometimes seems like a dream, and the fantasy of a dream can sometimes seem like reality.

Megan Siepka’s the life dependent is a socially-distanced trio that deconstructs the magnetism between humans and technology. Imagination is utilized as an escape.

February 26: Urban Bush Women’s Artist Journal, collaboratively re-staged on VCU Dance majors, and new works by students Becca Gargiulo, Cameron Wilkins, and Noah Zaner.

In in search of something more, Becca Gargiulo explores the experience of living in a technologically-driven society, which has increased exponentially due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She delves into how such extreme experiences can cause deep, meaningful connections to gradually fade away. Performing solo, Gargiulo transitions from mime-like gestures to expansive movement, bringing to life a character who questions this loss of humanity. 

In Existential, Cameron Wilkins expands on the ideas from a previous piece, which was a “love letter” to the women of his family. Existential is a love letter to himself, acknowledging the places he’s been and the places he’s going. He choreographed and performs the work mainly in the contemporary style with heavy ballet influences.

Tuesday, Dearest by Noah Zaner uses Butoh and Gaga exercises to create two similar but independent story lines. Both dancers were directed to embody a character that they created and to be influenced and affected by the worlds in which their characters existed. 

March 5: New work by Sinclair Emoghene, assistant professor with VCUarts Dance + Choreography, and all five student works.

In Sinclair Emoghene’s film, Therapy, mental health is key. The film revolves around the dialogues happening in the minds of three patients during their therapy sessions, including ongoing conversations and unclear conversations that reveal highly charged emotions and struggles. 

March 12: Feeling Distance, created by Dr. Kate Sicchio, assistant professor of dance and media technologies in VCUarts Dance + Choreography and Kinetic Imaging.

Feeling Distance is an interactive choreographic event conceived for the internet. The online audience will not only watch the piece live streamed, they will also have the opportunity to interact with the dancer’s costumes and provide a virtual yet physical touch to the moving bodies they are watching. When the audience clicks on the website, they will inflate or deflate the costumes, adding breath and touch as the dancers respond; creating moments of blooming and wilting, supporting and suffocating, inhaling and exhaling. Visit at 7:00 pm EST on Friday, March 12. Check event updates on Facebook

VCUarts Dance NOW 2021 is the fifth event of the 2020-2021 performance season, a series of virtual events created under COVID protocols and in the spirit of innovation and connection. This season is made possible in part by generous support from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.