Friday, October 9, 2015

Creating Choreography; Cultivating Community

The DeSales University XTE (student-run honors Dance club) produces a monthly "Dancer Digest", specifically for the University's Dance Majors. I was unaware, and so was my colleague and DeSales Dance Faculty, Angela Sigley Grossman, that the students who participated in (in)visible veins: Rivers Merge planned and wrote an article about the experience.

In their words, I'm including the article below:

Rivers Merge: (in)visible veins
By Samantha Burns and Sarah Duffany

"During the weekend of September 25th and 26th, the Lehigh Valley was able to experience a performance of Jessica Warchal-King's piece titled (in)visible veins. This performance took place next to the river at Scott Park, which is located near Lafayette College, in Easton, PA. This piece used the music from Bach's Cello Suite No. 6, under the musical direction of David Cullen. There were over twenty dancers from the DeSales University Dance Department who performed in this piece, along with Warchal-King and Angela Sigley Grossman. The rehearsals for (in)visible veins ran for two hour sessions over three consecutive weeks at the Brission Dance Studio and concluded with a tech rehearsal in the actual performance space. This piece was divided up into six different sections and ran approximately for twenty-six minutes. Warchal-King's main focus was to create something to facilitate community building, while recognizing the importance of things both seen and unseen.

The site specific piece allowed not only the audience to feel one with nature, but also pushed the performance to open up their eyes and appreciate both the visible and invisible parts of their world. Gina Palumbo, a senior dance major, was touched by the tranquil scene, and was constantly reminded her of the message behind Warchal-King's artistic vision. "With the presence (of the) river, the traffic, the train, our audience members, and all of God's grandeur, remaining present during the performance was absolutely vital if I wanted to properly provide [Jessica's] art to the audience." Palumbo was also very grateful for the connection to the community found in the environment in which she performed: "If I can take what I learned in this piece out into the world, I can make a small, yet important, change in the world around me."

Similarly, Lisa Marie Levy, a sophomore dancer, immediately immersed herself in the natural world around her. "While I was performing, I was noticing nature and seeing the beauty in nature," Levy stated, "I gained a better understanding of beauty in everyday life." Levy also found solace in Warchal-King's intentions of creating a community: "We, as a community, need to recognize what we have and focus on the good rather than the bad."

(in)visible veins was created to help build community while recognizing the importance of things both seen and unseen. The movement in this piece focused on external and internal rotation, a constant awareness of being connected with the other dancers, and a sense of living in each moment as if the river was continuously flowing within the performers. The location for this work also set the theme of connectedness and community since this work was performed near the river which connects the Delaware and Lehigh rivers before moving onward toward Philadelphia."

This piece was re-posted with the permission of the editor, the authors, and DeSales Faculty. 

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