Swamp Dance Fest returns Friday

Swamp Dance Fest 2013 is a month-long student-dance program with public performances held throughout July at the University of Florida’s McGuire Pavilion of Theatre and Dance.

Courtesy of Jordan Albright
Published: Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 6:50 p.m.

When Joey Loto participated in Swamp Dance Fest 2012 at the University of Florida, he did not imagine that he would study dance in Israel the following summer.


Swamp Dance Fest 2013

What: Four-week dance intensive program for students with public performances
When: Works in progress performed 5 p.m. Friday and July 12 and 19; final performances 7:30 p.m. July 25-27, 2 p.m. July 28
Where: McGuire Pavilion of Theatre and Dance; works in progress performed in Studio G6, final performances in the Black Box Theater
Cost: Works in progress are free, final performances are $17, $13 for students and seniors
Info: 392-1653, Ticketmaster.com

The connection he made with one of the program’s choreographers, Yanev Abraham, during Swamp Dance Fest, made such an experience possible, however.

“I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity for all these international artists to come to my school,” said Loto, a UF dance major. “It’s an outlet to explore one’s creativity and how it relates to them.”

Swamp Dance Fest is a four-week dance-intensive program that gives pre-professional and professional dancers the opportunity to collaborate with cutting-edge choreographers. Public showings of works in progress begin Friday and the festival culminates with performances of world premieres by the visiting artists July 25-28 in the Black Box Theater in the McGuire Pavilion of Theatre and Dance.

The purpose of the festival is to create a space of exploration for artists with varied degrees of experiences around the world, said Neta Pulvermacher, a UF dance professor and founder of Swamp Dance Fest, which began in 2009.

“I wanted to let (people) know about this secret world at the swamp,” Pulvermacher said. “The theme is you come and we create.”

Last year’s Swamp Dance Fest was themed as a “living art gallery.” The audience could stand, sit on the floor and walk through the live performances. Seats will be available this year.

Dancers dressed in uniform jumpsuits, white dresses, black dresses and nude-colored clothing simultaneously twirled, leapt and rolled onstage to the same soundtrack.

“It felt like the United Nations,” said Pulvermacher. “The dancers, who spoke Hebrew, Arabic, English, French, Spanish, danced and created together.”

Swamp Dance Fest 2013 also will feature work from the Shua Group, a duo that creates movement-based art, said Tzveta Kassabova, Swamp Dance Fest’s artistic director. The dancers will collaborate with local visual artists Tim Elverston and Ruth Whiting, who will design kites for the show.

“It’s contagious, in a way, to be in a room where something that hasn’t been created before is (made),” Pulvermacher said. “It makes one realize what it means to be awake and alive.”

Loto, who is the stage manager for this year’s Swamp Dance Fest, said people should come to Swamp Dance Fest and get the full experience.

It’s important for people to show support for the arts at the University of Florida, the 21-year-old added.

“People are up there live, offering you something. It’s not like you’re sitting on your computer watching Netflix,” he said. “If we’re going to support a football game, why not support the arts?”

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