Dance Repertory Theatre returns this spring in EMERGE, presenting four new works from professional and student choreographers. Exploring themes of emergence, EMERGE seeks to reflect on history in order to imagine a way forward, elevating the inventiveness and interconnectivity of moving art forms. Each piece showcases its choreographer’s unique dance style and background, performed by our talented dance students and accentuated by detailed design elements. The result is an evening of dance performance that immerses audiences in four multi-faceted worlds, celebrating the ways dance can move us and shape us.
“Creating dance is a rigorous form of imagination. We are imagining new worlds, new relationships and new ways of communicating,” share according to artistic director Gesel Mason and producing artistic directors Erica “EG” Gionfriddo and Dorothy O’Shea Overbey. “We ask hard questions and grow our capacity for complex feelings. The works on this program do this by looking at the past – a tender childhood memory or the literal dark ages– and by imagining our future – hopeful and in harmony with technology and wondering whether our Renaissance is yet to come.”
EMERGE kicks off with Live as ONE, choreographed by Israeli dancer/choreographer Ido Tadmor, whose piece marks the return of the Haruka Weiser Memorial Commission. His work meditates on human connection and hopes for peace and harmony. Featuring an outstanding cast of dancers including Evan Carlson, Faith Davis, Catherine Dishington, Elizabeth Garza, Jordan Gilbertson, Sheila Jackson, Gabriela Machado, Isabella Mao and Emma Ofelia Valdez.
Guest choreographers Anya and Mitsuko Clarke-Verdery of MICHIYAYA collaborated with students and choreographic assistant Bree Breeden to compose why they are the way that they are (Draft 2). Dynamic set design, illuminated by striking projections, work in tandem with femme-centric contemporary movement to explore memory and identity. This piece stars Daniela Mendes Albert, Venese Alcantar, Mia Blitz, Megan Davidson, Aída Hernandez-Reyes, Hayley Jeansonne, Ellie Newton, Andrea Orta, IvyCamille Sampson and Makenna Wallace.
M.F.A. candidate Venese Alcantar has choreographed an experimental work for EMERGE, entitled Blue, Contrapposto, Blue. Her piece investigates identity, utilizing fluid movements, visceral visual designs and live music created by student composers Dillon James, Tito Rovner and Dillon Harger. Performers in Alcantar’s work include London Lack, Lorna Luciano, Victoria Angelina Montemayor and Makaila Natividad.
A re-staging of Gesel Mason’s Renaissance Futura concludes the event, created in collaboration with the dancers and rhythmic dramaturg Ryan K. Johnson. Starting with crafted text and opulent costume design, Mason’s piece constructs a modern incarnation of the “Dark Ages.” After exposing the darkness of the present day, the piece calls for a new Renaissance, with dancers breaking out of their restrictive costumes and into empowered movement and choreography. A talented troupe of dancers bring this work to life, including Sabrina Blackwelder, Rebecca Carrillo, Emily Figueroa, Alejandro Frederickson, Noemie Gschwendtner, Sarah Matney, Lexie Nelson, Arianna Puente, RyAnne Rovelo and Moria Joy Small.
An exceptional creative team helps bring EMERGE to the stage, with many artists lending their skills to multiple performances. This group includes Georgia Beckham (Assistant Sound Designer), Rusty Cloyes (Stage Manager), Sarah “Selliott” Elliott (Lighting Designer), Reese Herndon (Assistant Lighting Designer), Amber Huchton (Assistant Projection Designer), Jason Lee Huerta (Technical Director), Dillon James (Composer), Aaron Kubacak (Costume Designer), Ana Lara (Scenic Designer), Jonah Maughan (Assistant Technical Director), Elias Merlo (Sound Designer), Benjamin Randall (Projection Designer), Gavin Strawnato (Lighting Designer) and Camille Wiltz (Rehearsal Assistant).
A passionate archival team helped document EMERGE, consisting of Dance Repertory Theatre members Faith Davis, Brock Gayaut, Sarah Johnston, Moria Joy Small and Skyler Tepedino.