Happy May Day. We have now entered what is typically the hectic season of spring showcases for movement arts students. And as someone who has watched the members of the Dance at Illinois Class of 2020 grow and thrive, it saddens me that these, like so many other milestone events, will occur with performers and audience members alone together. I miss the energy. I miss the sound of feet hitting the stage. I miss being there in the pre-COVID-19 sense of the word. But I am truly grateful for and inspired by the nimbleness of these students and their faculty as they prepare to launch two digital senior showcases on May 1st and 2nd, at 7 p.m. via Zoom.
I have written before about the aspirational nature of dance movement. As someone who creates with words, dance humbles me with ephemeral, yet deeply visceral power. Dance is, in every sense of the word, uplifting. As dancers soar, they take our hearts and our dreams with them. For a moment, they bring us that much closer to the sun. And now more than ever we need to embody that feeling. So whether you log on to Zoom to cheer on the DAI Class of 2020, or to take a virtual dance class yourself, I hope that you will find something on your list that makes lightens your load, lifts your heart, and makes you want to soar.
The Dance at Illinois BFA Class of 2020 presents Compulsive Motion
Image: Photo of DAI dancers with the words "Compulsive Motion" aross in white text. Photo by Elliot Emadian.
The Class of 2020 is a diverse and dynamic group of talented and envelope-pushing artists. Watching them perform has kept me on my toes (pun intended) and looking ahead to the future. And as their online presence has shown, their creativity and vision easily cross over into digital storytelling. They have taken what may have seemed like a consolation and beautiful spun it into a must-see virtual event. Do take some time today and tomorrow to watch them live on Zoom and send them the love they deserve. Get the details here.
Dance at Illinois students share their #distancedances
Image: Photo of DAI freshman Jordyn Gibson dancing outside of a brick apartment building. Photo from Instagram.
And if you want to see Dance of Illinois students spontaneously performing solo amongs the diverse backdrops of their hometowns, check out the #distancedance hashtag campaign on the DAI's Instagram. These short in-situ (performing from and as a part of your specific location) video clips are infused with the same spirit as the recent Flatland Dance Film Festival. They both use the medium of film [or video] to more deeply explore dance's storytelling power.
Enjoy recorded dance performances by Krannert Center partners
Image: Photo still from Mark Morris Dance Group's YouTube video clip of Sport.
Krannert Center for the Performinng Arts has been doing a great job feeding its hungry audience with a steady stream of posts from Krannert partners and visiting artists, sharing links to footage of live performances. KCPA recently shared an annoucement from the Mark Morris Dance Group providing these options for learning more about Sport, the work that MMDG had planned to share with KCPA audiences this spring.
For the first time since 2001, we won't be performing at our midwest home at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts this weekend. However, we've put together a mini tour experience for you:
Learn excerpts of Sport in our Dance with MMDG class with Nicole Sabella
Watch a snippet of Sport on YouTube
Listen to a Q&A with Mark Morris after our Jacob's Pillow performance (July 2019) which included Sport, Prelude and Prelude, excerpts from Words, and Grand Duo
KCPA has also curated an additional list of dance performances to watch, and remote dance classes to attend on its new "virtual performances of our partners" page.
Image: On the left, a photo of the Urbana Dance Company front entrance. To the right, the Urbana Dance Company logo. Photo by Debra Domal. Logo from UDC website.
Last, but certainly not least, our local dance hub Urbana Dance Company continues to offer remote classes in a variety of styles. UDC is community-oriented and welcomes dancers of all abilities and levels of experience. It represents so much of what makes our community so special. The focus on dance as personal yet global. The use of technology to problem solve. The commitment to the healing power of movement. If you have the funds to do so, please help support this vibrant small business with your virtual attendance. You won't regret it.
So this month, consider by inspired by these dancers. Find a way to move, to move for joy, for healing, for exercise. Find a way to move keep moving yourself forward even when it feels like the world around is standing still.