Fall For Dance serves as an exhibition of interdisciplinary talent; featuring Pan-African, street, contemporary and technology-based movement, this celebration of dance invites the audience to consider the relationship between the diverse range of performances. The choreographers behind this project include faculty members and guest artists Teena Marie Custer and Kevin A. Ormsby. In addition, two students have also been selected to showcase their works, providing a fantastic artistic opportunity for both themselves and their peers: Rebecca Carrillo investigates social-media, capitalism and self-esteem in digital-esque and Anna Valdman explores lyricism and movement in And I Can Breathe Again. Professor Erica “EG” Gionfriddo emphasizes the importance of this inclusion, stating that: “This is a huge peer mentorship in our program as the student choreographers and many of the dancers in their pieces are actively taking choreography courses at the same time, so they’re learning and growing, supporting each other in this process.” We spoke with these two talented student choreographers to find out more about their journey so far.
Dramaturg and current M.A. candidate Rebecca Fitton provides a behind-the-scenes look at rehearsals for In Sisters We Trust, or My F*cked Up American Girl Doll Play –
Rebecca Fitton: Justine Gelfman’s sharp, witty and all too timely play, In Sisters We Trust, or My F*cked Up American Girl Doll Play, offers a nuanced critique of institution-branded female empowerment. The story leans first upon nostalgia–the surreal magic of American Girl–before plummeting into the complex dynamics of historical discrimination and erasure as related to race and gender, generational wealth, intersectional feminism and flawed representations of women in media. It is a doozy. The play implicates you, the audience, in its commentary. How are you complicit in age-old oppressive practices glossed over by a shade of millennial pink?
Quick, find your seats on the carousel… the ride is about to start!
JuCoby Johnson’s …but you could’ve held my hand masterfully blends dance, music and poetry in a beautiful exploration of sexuality, gender and Blackness. The lives of the four protagonists play out on stage, immersing the audience in nearly three decades of their hopes, dreams and struggles. While working on this production, it became increasingly important to the creative team that this piece about love and tenderness is seen by audiences who could find themselves reflected on stage in these characters. We spoke with director Braxton Rae, associate director Trinity Gordon and dramaturg/community engagement lead Renita James to learn more about their intended impact of this production, how they’re hoping to engage with audiences beyond Winship and how working on this piece has changed their own lives.