Show introduces Dance Theatre of Santa Fe's students, faculty works
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 2:41 p.m.
More than 45 dancers will take the stage tonight and Saturday in “New Beginnings,” Dance Theatre of Santa Fe's largest production of the semester.
What: Dance Theatre Santa Fe fall performance
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday
Where: Fine Arts Hall, 3000 NW 83rd St. Gainesville
Tickets: $12-$15, $9 seniors and children 12 and younger
Info: 395-4181, www.sfcollege.edu/finearts
As its title suggests, “New Beginnings” introduces the new students within the dance department as well as the latest faculty works, already developed in the new academic year.
Contemporary ballet, modern dance, West African dancing and street dance are all on the bill, which at times incorporates live music as well as cinema.
Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday in the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall.
Santa Fe Assistant Professor Sarah Harkness-Sebastian, who contributes most of the new works, has performed throughout the nation and the world.
Along with two ensemble works, “Caged” and “Returning,” Harkness-Sebastian also has created a pas de deux titled “Dream,” which features Langton Dunbar partnering with fellow students Celia Coats (in today's performance) and Raven Moore.
Tari Kendall, Santa Fe dance department director, calls “Dream,” which was created for the Santa Fe theatre department's production of “All Night Strut,” as “very ballroom, very Fred-and-Ginger.”
Harkness-Sebastian's fourth contribution to “New Beginnings” is the original film “Inhabited,” in which she serves as director, choreographer and dancer. “Inhabited” is the initial phase of a project that began in July and will continue to be developed into a multimedia, full theatrical production.
“New Beginnings” also features guest choreographer Cornelius Carter from University of Alabama, which boasts a very strong dance program.
“I brought him down cause I've known Cornelius for 26 years,” says Fine Arts Chair Alora Haynes, a former professional ballerina who received her undergraduate dance degree from Alabama.
Carter restaged his “In Memory Of ...” on the Dance Theatre of Santa Fe dancers.
“He really enjoys the diversity and the inclusiveness of our group,” says Haynes. “We have dancers from every sort of background and level and places in their lives, as people and dancers. It makes for a beautiful camaraderie inside of the group, and I think Cornelius really captures that in his work. Through this piece, the dancers are able to also somehow move as one.”
Mohamed DaCosta, a guest lecturer and assistant professor at Santa Fe, the University of Florida's School of Theatre and Music, and the UF Center for World Arts, has choreographed “Sinte”.
“Mohamed has a nice, big following here at Santa Fe,” says Haynes. “He likes to put the UF students and our kids together sometimes, which is wonderful. With his drummers he brings, and his energy, the singing, he makes it a full African experience, not just a dance class. He's very authentic.”
“There's a large group of men and women dancers in the piece,” she adds. “We are fortunate to have a big group of musical theatre students who are strong in dance. The dance majors really enjoy them and they all get along well.”
“New Beginnings” also includes “Culminated Divide,” a contemporary ballet ensemble work by assistant professor (and SFC alumna) Jessica Mayhew-Borrero.
Scholarship student Jerel Hercules has choreographed “No NoNSense”, which Haynes describes as a “modern and hip hop fusion piece.”
“Jerel came to us as a hip hop dancer and now he's had modern, ballet, and some jazz dance training here,” says Haynes. “He's taken all his technical influences and his hip hop background and fused them together into work that the students feel challenged by and enjoy. He tells a story through it as well, which is a sophisticated way of creating work for someone relatively new to formal choreography. We see him really taking off. He's also a father — he has a 2-year-old daughter — and he balances his life very well. We're very proud of him.”
Hercules also contributes choreography to the program's closing work, “Turn Up the Radio.”
Kendall says the closer developed from a flash-mob promotion, which appeared on the Santa Fe northwest campus on Thursday.
“We have three boys right now who are phenomenal hip hop dancers,” Kendall says. “This really showcases each of them individually, and it finishes up with the flash mob we've taught to all our dance students in all our classes, not just the company performers of Dance Theatre of Santa Fe.”