New Moves Choreography Showcase

Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 4:00 pm to Friday, December 6, 2013, 4:00 pm
The New Moves Choreography Showcase presents contemporary choreography by Lecturer Wendy Diamond and advanced students, featuring an inventive array of movement ideas. Directed by Susan Whipp. $8-$15.
Creative Arts Building, McKenna Theatre
School of Music and Dance
SF State Box Office
Event extras: 

Student choreographers

  • Raul Avina
  • Marissa Brooks
  • Andrew Gomez
  • Qinmin Liu
  • Josh Ornelas
  • Vincent Perez
  • Ari Pulido
  • Simone Wend

Director’s notes

Susan Leigh Foster explores the artistry of many 20th-century choreographers in her book Reading Dancing, Bodies and Subjects in Contemporary American Dance. In one part, Foster describes two major choreographers, Martha Graham and George Balanchine, and how they began their new works.

One in ballet and one in early modern dance, these two American icons were far apart in their approach to using music in making choreography. Balanchine was known for beginning a new dance by choosing a musical work and then working with dancers in the studio for a month or more to form his work. To Balanchine, dance was the visualization of the music. Graham, in contrast, was famous for incubating a theme she considered to have universal significance, then taking a year to personally craft movement rooted in her personal experience. After her movement exploratory period, she often commissioned a composer or found a score to match the intensity of her archetypal idea. The results for both were monumental.

Choreographers in this New Moves showcase seem to relate to approaches Balanchine and Graham showed us many years ago. The 2013 choreographers began their rehearsals in early September and had to complete their works by early November. It is interesting that each choreographer in New Moves this year choreographed movement and music from one of these two approaches noted by Foster.

In Wendy Diamond’s Woven, Braided, and Knit, inspiration for the movement came from the circular, canon-filled nature of the Sonnerie De Ste Genvieve Du Mont-de Paris by Marin Marais. Weaving thematic counterpoints in the music presented a wonderful formal structure for Diamond’s classically modern movement phrases. Diamond’s choreography has several phrases layered with each other in canon or in juxtaposition, as dancers weave in and around the stage, bringing the music to life.

Josh Ornelas began his movement discovery with chance movement scoring, but he found inspiration to form his final ideas by searching deeply into his central ideas with two music selections: As the Crow Flies by Timothy Vajda and Spirits by Ty Burhoe. Josh cited the thriving tempos, background cello and layering of the string instruments as he created the moody Pacifications. Likewise, musical choices were the inspiration for Qinmin Liu’s Seen and Unseen in her study of perception and awareness. Conversely, Vincent Perez began with movement experimentation based on mathematical existentialism, and those explorations progressed into a structural score. He then expanded complexity with dancers vocalizing a sound score in juxtaposition to the original This Thought is a Question by Garrett Peters.

Now it is your turn to look for the music and dance relationships used by each choreographer.
—Susan Whipp