Dance NOW 2020: Innovative New Work!

VCU’s Department of Dance + Choreography is delighted to present Dance NOW 2020 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, February 6, 7, 8 at 7:30 pm nightly with a 2:00 pm Saturday matinee. Grace Street Theater, 934 West Grace Street, Richmond, VA. Tickets are $15/$10 students/seniors (VCU Students FREE), and group discounts are available. Call 804-828-2020 or order online.

Dance NOW celebrates innovative new work emerging from VCUarts Dance at every level – from students showing fully-produced pieces for the first time, to faculty work reflecting sustained and innovative research, to guest artist work that highlights student performers. For 2020, this concert in two programs features the following artists, whose work explores ideas ranging from energy fields to instincts, from computer programming to migration and marginalization. Program A + B listings below.

Assistant Professor Sinclair Emoghene’s Kaleidoscope of Tuts (KOTS) follows the journey of two young men, one from Israel and the other from Nigeria. They are both gay men who lived in countries where homosexuality is a criminal offense. They are seeking protection from the U.S. government. The crux of this work details the struggle they have to face in the U.S. as they navigate issues of otherness, depression, social anxiety, and marginalization while making arts.

Visiting iCubed Scholar Julian Kevon Glover’s Embodied: Or What It Means to Get Your Life When Society Wants to Kill You takes the form of a choreopoem and invites the audience to witness their ongoing self-transformation through a combination of movement, music and feeling.

Senior Dance major Michelle Knight’s A Numb Collection investigates to subtlety and numbness of patterned anxiety.

Springing forth from ongoing creative research for a larger work entitled Native Intelligence / Innate Intelligence that guest artist Christopher K. Morgan is developing with his Washington, D.C. dance company, Intra-woven emerges from questions about the origin of instinct. The creative process with the students involved asking each cast member about a place they feel at home, who in their life modeled good instincts, and when their instincts might have led them astray. Drawing on Morgan’s native Hawaiian heritage, a hilo style of lei making is incorporated into the work. The lei connects the performers and viewers to the heritage of the choreographer, while serving as a visual metaphor – as the double spiral in the lei harkens to the spiral of DNA. Are our instincts woven into our genetics?

Assistant Professor Trebien Pollard’s The Unintentional Passage explores unintentional encounters with a cast of ten dancers. Assistant Professor Eric Rivera’s Caminos investigates the continuous process of defining one’s path through life. Each decision we make shapes our unique route, and yet we continuously confront unexpected turns that redefine our pathway. One’s path is defined by the steps we are taking and the journeys we envision.

Associate Professor Scott Putman’s Ricochet gets its inspiration from the research in sentient communication through auric and morphogenetic energy fields. The imagery exploration evolved out of exchanges between Putman and his work with horses during communication workshops in the round pen over the past few years. The incredibly agile and athletic movement imagery is artfully executed by the dancers and their ability to conjure new worlds with the sensitivity of every step.

Assistant Professor of Media Technologies Dr. Kate Sicchio’s What the computer can’t do explores using computer programming and algorithms as a way of creating choreography. Through an intensive process of using timelapse photography, thousands of photographs where feed into a t-SNE algorithm and sorted. Dancers relearned their movements as presented to them by the computer to create an unusually and quirky dance of repetition and unexpected shapes.

Junior Dance major Megan Siepka’s Buried Noise investigates solitude and distortion. Habit, shame, and humility are built into a heap of dirty laundry. Utilizing and altering the voice of a guided meditation, healing rituals are traced into an ambivalent state of being.

Associate Professor Judith Steel’s 9 Involuntary Movements offers a version of a culinary amuse-bouche (tasty morsel to whet the appetite); a small encapsulated palette of nine movements explodes in multiple forms in a movement collaboration with four players. Accompanied by random sounds and a jazz-blues score, 9 Involuntary Movements provides a springboard for play and spontaneity.

Senior Dance major Sydney Wiggins’s In the Desert is a reflection and expression of her emotional and mental space at the time of the work’s creation. She was overwhelmed, lost and alone but refused to acknowledge and express these feelings, and used this dance as a way to heal and move forward.

In his first produced work, junior Dance major Noah Zaner was inspired to create Sentience from Rami Be’er’s Horses in the Sky. This work looks at how individuals behave within a group, how they are influenced by one another, and what happens when one or more of the individuals break from that conformity.

Program A: Thursday 7:30 pm + Saturday 7:30 pm
Julian Kevon Glover, iCubed Visiting Scholar
Cristopher K. Morgan, Guest Artist
Scott Putman, Faculty
Eric Rivera, Faculty
Dr. Kate Sichhio, Faculty
Megan Siepka, Student
Sydney Wiggins, Student

Program B: Friday 7:30 pm + Saturday 2:00 pm
Joi Brown, Student
Sinclair Emoghene, Faculty
Michelle Knight, Student
Christopher K. Morgan, Guest Artist
Trebien Pollard, Faculty
Judy Steel, Faculty
Noah Zaner, Student

Dance NOW is the seventh event in the VCUarts Dance + Choreography 2019-2020 performance season. Recognized by professional dancers and choreographers as “a place where things are happening,” Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Dance and Choreography offers a vibrant and stimulating atmosphere where students prepare for careers in dance.