After months of developing innovative virtual performances, Dance Repertory Theatre’s return to the stage in Fall For Dance is nothing short of electric. With a whole new array of choreographic works by faculty, students and our first guest artist since Fall For Dance 2019, the energy that comes with creating dance performance and making discoveries together is palpable. Dance Repertory Theatre invites audiences to experience this energy for themselves through two weekends of unique programming in the Oscar G. Brockett Theatre. We recently spoke with Artistic Directors Leah Cox and Joel Valentín-Martínez about the joys of returning to in person rehearsal and performance.
After a year filled with mostly remote work, what has the in-person rehearsal process for Fall For Dance been like?
Joel: In the beginning there was an exciting yet cautious return to an in-person rehearsal this Fall. Once in the studio, we discovered that there was a positive and infectious energy coming from each of us like we had never felt before, which it is hard to describe. We have been hard at play like children who were once again let out into the magical playground we call dance.
Leah: Returning to the studio to create work in person has been healing and provocative. Which is to say, vulnerable and human. We tiptoed around one another, then broke into that forbidden six feet of distance that we have honored for 18 months. We felt the real forces of movement borne of dancing together and the unique silence that was not the result of zoomed-out distraction, but a consequence of real presence collectively considering ideas. Reconnecting to our full selves in front of and with other people felt like returning home after being abroad for a spell, Odysseus-like. We are both more different and more familiar than we remember.
What are you most excited for live audiences to witness when watching this year’s Fall For Dance?
Leah: I love being in the Oscar G. Brockett Theatre, where audiences can feel our dancing up close and experience the details of each performer’s actions and energy. Each dance on each program is distinct and unlike any other. Each one has vital, vibrant physicality.
Joel: For me, Fall for Dance is not just a celebration of our wonderful student dancers but also of a celebration of our collective investment. It is pure joy to see both seasoned and student choreographers, graduate lighting, sound, media and costume designers, as well as stage managers and crew members and all their mentors, come together to be creative live and in person once again.
If you could describe this year’s programing for Fall For Dance in one sentence, what would it be?
Leah: This year’s Fall For Dance is like a homecoming party, with each dance welcoming the audience back to the theatre and their vivid, feeling-full selves.
Joel: This is our red carpet, come celebrate with us!
Fall For Dance
November 11-21, 2021
Oscar G. Brockett Theatre
Written by Sydney Pattillo