March 2021

Dance ensemble

The Contemporary Dance Ensemble performs against the tide

UVU’s Contemporary Dance Ensemble (CDE) put on an innovative and exciting dance performance that members of the public saw from the comfort of their homes on March 27, 2021.

As COVID-19 demanded restrictions on the ability to do a live performance in front of a large group of people, CDE created an all-virtual concert with a conglomerate of regular videography and stop-motion animation to tell the stories. As a result, not only were choreographers, dancers and light designers needed, but videographers and editors were also essential to the production.

“We have been able to take advantage of the incredible talent of UVU’s studio and broadcast services team, and this relationship is ripe for potential opportunities in the future,” said Monica Campbell, CDE Co-Director and Assistant Professor and president of the dance department. “With our virtual concert, we were able to reach a larger audience than with our usual live show. My sister was able to watch from London.

The dancers were in masks the entire time, which subtly commented on the impact of the coronavirus while adding to the dark and mysterious feeling of the production. The show started with a large group designed by Brian Gerke, internationally renowned dance department teacher and choreographer, where the dancers moved methodically and moved on 12 patterned mats on the stage.

Then an interesting new piece called ‘Stay in your frame,entirely created using stop motion animation. It was an aggregation of still images of dancers where a rapid change of each frame occurred to create the effect of full, uninterrupted movement. UVU Dance faculty member Sarah Donohue did this and two other similar projects that appeared in the show: “Where Empty Minds Misbehave” and “In a forbidden country far, far away. The projects have demonstrated the stimulation of exciting new and innovative ideas by COVID-19 restrictions. Between these pieces there was another by choreographer Laura Brick.

A lively and engaging part of the production was a dance that was filmed indoors and outdoors on the UVU campus and throughout Utah County in under 10 hours. The performers were dressed in a variety of colorful clothes that stood out against the various sets, some of which were stairs, hallways and courtyards. UVU dancers and teachers were delighted to work with Mike Esperanza, an award-winning choreographer based in New York City who designed this issue called “Outsiders.

“Most of the inspiration for this piece came from current events,” Esperanza said. “The things that have affected us emotionally and the way we interact with people. I feel like we’ve all transformed in one way or another, so I wanted to illustrate this story with movement.

Esperanza directed and prepared the dancers from her own apartment via Zoom. Using a storyboard to clearly communicate her vision, the performers learned and performed her choreography so they could seamlessly stitch the video together.

“I had to rely on a dot book – a term we used in marching bands and drums – to compose the dancers in specific spaces,” Esperanza explained. He said the Zoom teaching process was quite difficult. However, Esperanza had previously worked with CDE on another piece and feels the dancers are hard workers and understand well how he works. During their collaboration, he said that they keep the environment positive and fun.

To close the show, all the dancers have teamed up to perform an intense and dreamlike piece by choreographer LajaMartin. Throughout the dance, a dancer slept on a chair and the video faded between him and the other performers dancing across the stage. The sleeping boy woke up abruptly at the last moment, revealing that he might have been dreaming all along.

“Against the Grain” turned out to be a very apt name for the show because the directors, dancers and choreographers had to be innovative during the COVID-19 era to put on such a production.

“I think the most important lesson we’ve learned is that no matter what, no matter what the dancing will continue,” said Campbell. “We will always find a way to create, share and do what we love. Even if it involves learning from your living room, rehearsing and playing for hours in masks and 10ft squares, or without touch or touch. I think this is a testament to the passion, resilience and ingenuity of the entire School of the Arts – not just dance. We are so proud of our students and teachers.

From their efforts was born an original and engaging performance that felt contemporary and anything but conventional, going against the grain of anything that had been seen before.
To purchase tickets for other UVU performances, visit

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Dance ensemble

The Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble presents TO YOUR CONSTANT EMBRACE, THE CLOUD STREAM SWAYS

“To Your Constant Embrace, The Cloud Stream Sways” is a new dance and music film by Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble that talks about our current condition of being alone together and invites us into a world of inspiring and interwoven interaction in 5 cities of 4 different countries. The 13-minute short features choreography, editing and costumes by Michele Brangwen and music composed and arranged by Danielle Reich.

Take a look below!

“To Your Constant Embrace, The Cloud Stream Sways” is performed by dancers Robin Gilbert, Yuritzi Govea, Cristian Laverde König and Michele Brangwen, singer Danielle Reich, trumpeter Tim Hagans, bassist Thomas Helton and drummer Anders Mogensen.

Michele Brangwen shares this statement:

“When we started this project in October, it looked like the coming winter months were going to be really tough. We had just released a film project that we had created in the spring and summer and I thought it was going to be. was really important that we continue to create a work together during this time. I wanted to create a new work that would be an invitation to release some of the sadness, an invitation to experience a kind of universal oneness that exists from our humanity shared, something heartwarming and welcoming. Composer Danielle Reich wrote and arranged an incredibly beautiful song called “Come on, come on”, with lyrics by the poet Rumi. Although abstract, the poem seems to me to be about inclusion and forgiveness, both mutual forgiveness and forgiveness to ourselves. Raymond Todd, a poet friend of mine, says forgiveness opens the door to love, to unity. “

Brangwen continues, “We realized when we started this project that two dancers would soon be out of the country to help their family members in need, so we decided to film them themselves dancing where they would be. . It was so exciting to find out that these acts of love on their part would make these beautiful and contrasting places a part of the movie. Their sequences were so rich and organic, and as a filmmaker, it was so exciting. to work with. Our ensemble has members who reside in New York City, Houston, Texas and Odense, Denmark. This new project also included footage from Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico and Cali, Colombia. “

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Dance crew

Toronto dance team raises money for actor Degrassi’s mother after his death

Beloved Toronto actor Jahmil French, known for his roles in Degrassi: the next generation and Netflix Soundtrack, passed away at the age of 28 earlier this month, and the artist’s dance team is now raising funds to help her mother.

French joined the The Moon Runners dance team in 2010, according to his colleague Steve Ndacyayisenga, and Ndacyayisenga says his passion for the arts inspired the rest of the team to constantly dream bigger and work harder.

“His love for dancing and entertainment brought him to join us and we have all become inseparable,” Ndacyayisenga told blogTO. “Our team is more than dancing, it’s a brotherhood.”

So when French passed away suddenly on March 1, Ndacyayisenga and the rest of the crew decided to step in and help his mother, Jodi French, who is unable to work due to a disability.

“We knew we had to help Jodi bear the cost of her death and seek therapy to cope with this trauma,” he says, adding that the actor was an only child and the last member of his mother’s family. .

Ndacyayisenga therefore started a GoFundMe campaign on her behalf, and all money raised will go towards cremation and memorial arrangements as well as bereavement therapy and Jodi’s medical bills.

As of March 25, the campaign had raised only $ 4,526 of its goal of $ 20,000.

But while these funds will make the life of a grieving mother a little easier, Ndacyayisenga says nothing can replace Jahmil’s incredible presence.

“Jahmil was a talented, proud and loving man. He dreamed big, was always up for adventure and would light up any room he entered with just his smile,” Ndacyayisenga said. “He would dance to any music and love Michael Jackson. If you played him he would dance no matter where he was.”

“As dancers we are trained to ‘be free’ in our movements and not to be limited by fear or doubt. Jahmil was the embodiment of self-freedom. He lived fearlessly, confident in whom he was and encouraged us as a team. to continue believing in ourselves and breaking any boundaries that we think we have. “

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Dance ensemble

Penn State Altoona offers live and virtual performance of the Ivyside Dance Ensemble

ALTOONA, PA – The Ivyside Dance Ensemble at Penn State Altoona will offer their Spring 2021 performance live via Zoom at 7:30 p.m. on March 25.

Registration is available online.

This performance includes new works and repertoire and features pieces from dance faculty KT Huckabee, Bethany Miller and Caitlin Osborne. Another piece is in collaboration with the University Jazz Ensemble of Penn State Altoona, conducted by Josh Hillard.

Huckabee, integrative arts teacher and coordinator of the integrative arts major and dance minor, presents three pieces on stage.

“Deep Down, I Wish it Would Rain”, a repertoire piece, reimagines a duet solo using space upside down.

“Forced into this experience due to pandemic restrictions, it helped us, dancers and choreographers, step out of our comfort zone,” Huckabee said.

Two new Huckabee pieces will also be premiered. “Anonymous” explores the surreal dream environment of COVID-19, where many people find themselves navigating what can be described as “an alternate universe”. A new piece of jazz transports audiences to the funk era and variety shows of the 1970s.

Miller, a part-time dance teacher, licensed professional counselor, and licensed dance movement therapist, reworked the “inTangible” solo. This piece is an “uplifting, eventful exploration of the memories we need to hold onto and a reminder that those we have lost are always with us wherever we go,” according to Miller.

“Dmember the Future “is a cover of a dance originally created by Osborne for the film and was seen in the Ivyside Dance Ensemble’s fall performance,” Stories of Hope. “We take away our ability to anticipate In this way, I understood that we can miss not only the past but also the future. This dance, built on classical ballet with a touch of modern aesthetics, is my reflection on the question: ” Is it possible to be nostalgic for things that haven’t happened yet?

For more information, contact the box office, open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Thursday, at 814-949-5452.

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