From the things that bring us together and pull us apart, to the damaging generalizations that can imprison us, the UAA department of theater and dance has something to say about the human experience.
Eleven choreographers and 50 dancers from UAA and the Anchorage community plan to get their messages cross in a series of dance performances next month in New Dances 2013.
“Watching people convey messages aesthetically really evokes a strong emotional connection,” senior theater major David Chapa said. Chapa is both a dancer and lighting designer. “With dance you rely solely on aesthetic.”
Auditions were held at the beginning of the semester and attracted about 80 dancers. Only 50 were chosen from that group.
The pieces vary in genre from hip-hop and modern to jazz and tap dance, and groups contain anywhere from 2 to 17 dancers.
Chapa will be performing in four productions, including one choreographed by guest artist Nicholas Young.
Young is an internationally known performer, musician, choreographer and nine-year veteran of the Broadway hit “STOMP.” His piece is titled “Robert Boyle.”
“Robert Boyle” is an examination of how sound waves are created and how the body interprets them.
In addition to Young’s piece, senior theater major Maisie Stewart choreographed a piece called, “Cubed Perception,” a commentary about how confining generalizations can be.
“It’s a good way for students to explore how art can connect us,” Stewart said. “Dance has always had a unique way of exploring … what’s going on.”
Continuing this exploration, professor Brian Jeffery will focus on group dynamics in his new piece, “Falling Together Pushing Apart.”
Where Stewart and Jeffery explore many lives, term professor Katherine Kramer will pay tribute to one. Her piece, “via Brubeck” honors deceased Jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck.
“He passed away (last) December,” Kramer said, “This is a tribute to his genius.”
Stephanie Wonchala, Pulse Dance Company director, keeps up the exuberant pace of “via Brubeck” with “Enter the Heat.”
The exuberant mood is eventually heightened to ease into a more existential place in a collaboration between visual artist Ruby Kennel and local musician Evan Phillips.
Momentum Dance Collective director Becky Kendall will bring a final dash of local flavor with her piece, entitled “The Closing Door,” which examines the space between waking and dreaming.
Student choreographers also showcase their work. Teresa Liu and Christopher Branche will present their piece, “Flight and Other Inspirations.” Creacy Boggess and Bonnie Moring will present their pieces, “Conflicts of Love” and “…by choice,” respectively.
“I’ve seen people brought to tears by movement,” Chapa said, “but sometimes (the performances) are just plain fun.”
New Dances 2013 runs from April 12-21 at the Mainstage Theatre in the Fine Arts building. Friday and Saturday showings start at 8 p.m. and Sunday showing start at 6 p.m. Public admission is $15 and student admission is $12. Tickets are available at http://uaatix.com or 907-786-4TIX.