North Texas Daily

Dancers find earthly connection for faculty concert

Dancers find earthly connection for faculty concert

February 12
17:33 2015

Sarah Cagle / Contributing Writer

Sweat gleams on their bodies as the dancers move around the room, focused and in sync with each other and the music. Even though it is just another rehearsal, their movements come from somewhere deep in their souls.

These dance students are rehearsing for this year’s annual faculty dance concert, titled “Earth Connections.” The concert showcases original works from the department of dance and theatre’s faculty members and students, as well as a guest artist.

“Each piece is unique. Each choreographer and designer collaborates to form an idea in motion,” said artistic director and dance professor Shelley Cushman. “They create something that takes the audience on a journey. Each year’s journey is different because of that uniqueness in each individual in time and space.”

The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 12, 13, and 14 and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 15 at the University Theatre in the Radio, TV, Film, and Performing Arts building. Student and faculty tickets cost $7.50, and adult tickets cost $10.

The dances all have to do with man’s connections to each other and to the earth, Cushman said. Dance seniors Danielle Zuniga and Tony Picciolo both have pieces in the concert. Zuniga’s dance, “BioKinesis,” was inspired by her own personal growth in dance.

“Two years ago I came up with a statement: The art of being so lost in my movement that the world seems timeless and there’s only this moment,” Zuniga said. “That was my goal for dance.”

Zuniga said she collaborated with her dancers by asking them questions like, “If you had a completely clean slate, what would you create within your mind?” She took their answers and together they made “BioKinesis.”

Picciolo’s dance, “Borealis,” is about the image and history of the Northern Lights. It was also featured last fall in the new choreographers concert, “Agony, Ecstasy, and Floating Tanks.”

“I just started doing research on it, and the history of the Northern Lights is really rich,” Picciolo said. “It’s interesting to see the variation and the perspectives, going from people who saw it as something to be afraid of and be fearful of, and then other people saw it as something beautiful.”

The guest artist this year is Carl Flink, who choreographed a piece for the concert called “Foxhole.” The dance looks at communities in the aftermath of disasters.

“Carl is really astute in his ability to intermix different areas, such as battle maneuvers, mourning, aid that we give to each other, as well as the celebration of life that communities of people go through during disaster time,” said Mary Lynn Babcock, “Foxhole” rehearsal director and associate dance professor.

Zuniga and Picciolo said they are excited to perform in “Foxhole.” Picciolo said the piece brings something fresh, new and different to the dance department. “Foxhole,” “BioKinesis,” and “Borealis” are just a few of the dances that will be performed in the concert.

“[The dances] bring to the plate an artistic voice that creates a poetic otherness to the stage, but at the same time they all speak to an aspect of human life in ways that we don’t normally contemplate on a day to day basis,” Babcock said. “That’s the power and the beauty in the art form.”

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