IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa Department of Dance has choreographed a new way to showcase its eight graduating students.
Their BFA final projects in choreography and/or performance will presented in a virtual concert going live at 7 p.m. Thursday at Virtualdance.studio.uiowa.edu. In the style of a virtual gallery tour, audience members will be directed to the first work on the program, and will be directed to each subsequent piece.
The event had been planned for April in the university’s Space Place Theater, for the students’ families, department and extended community.
“Moving forward in this manner provides a vital venue for sharing the work of our BFA seniors in celebration of their talents and a means of sending them off to their next professional adventures, wherever those might lead,” Rebekah Kowal, the department’s executive officer said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our students, faculty and staff for working together on short notice to make this opportunity possible for all.”
Viewers will see the following eight works, plus a group piece:
• “A Redirect Again,” choreography by Emily Buttolph: “Facing yet another move in life, yet one I was excited for, I decided to look back a bit at how I have handled new places and how they have affected my movement and perception. I began this process with the difficulty in choosing music and decided to collaborate with two wonderful violists to create a score that could match the feel of the piece in my head. My collaborators went above and beyond and through a few late night rehearsals, movement began to stretch across the space.”
• “Second Work (Remastered),” choreography by Bennett Cullen: “This work is about the uncharted territories of my life. It has everything to do with the changing times, and the world we’re not sure we will be living in and how it affects my ability to connect to others. The closeness I share with others is quite special to me. Intimacy is an uncharted territory and it manifests in so many forms in my life, from intimacy that no one has ever seen, to shoulder-to-shoulder touching on a train, to an exchange of discomfort in tight quarters. I am particularly passionate about pleasure and pain, and how these dueling modalities exist on the ever-scaling spectrum of intimacy, and how I have come to adopt them in my own life, especially in the world we’re living in.”
• “What We Take With Us,” choreography by Corbin Phillips, in collaboration with the dancers
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• “see/her/bloom/hide/see,” choreography by Alyssa Simpson: “This work was made in the pits of anxiety, discomfort, beauty and chaos. As Jenny Slate says it, ‘This is the pits. The pits are also the seeds. The pit is also a deep place with an actual bottom. You could argue that the bottom of the pit is where you plant the start of the thing that is made to travel to the light. You could prove, if you tried to or wanted to, that the bottom of the pit is of course the start of getting up to the top.’ So here’s my attempt at growth.”
• “Withdrawal,” choreography by Mia Spitzer: “My idea was to create a screendance that gave my viewers a look into my brain, thoughts and spirit. I first began with a more narrative approach to filmmaking then progressed to a true screendance, focusing on the daily stress bodies are put through as a student-athlete and dancer. I am currently interested in the idea of isolation and how it can make your mind wander in a thousand different directions. Whether that be creating a disaster plan, figuring out how you’re going to pay for next month’s rent, wondering if the creative nature is sparked or dulled, etc.”
• “Subliminal Forces,” choreography by Haley Stevens, under mentorship of Eloy Barragan: “The work investigates the power of the subconscious mind and how it can have a profound effect on the way we live. As a piece that was originally made for the stage, I have taken this opportunity to focus on my feelings and the affirmations I give to myself in these uncertain times and how that translates through my body and into the environment.”
• “Dressed Up to Do Nothing,” choreography by Anna Wetoska
• “In My Skin,” choreography by Lauren Elizabeth Wood: “This work is a reflection of me coming to terms with my identity as a Hispanic woman with white skin. My whole life I have felt that physical appearance does not represent my cultural identity. This project focuses on me accepting who I am and sharing that my culture does not look a certain way.”