UB Theatre and Dance will present a unique new dance project this fall called ‘Home and Away:’ A Virtual Dance Concert, and including 50 dance majors in the undergraduate degree program, from freshman to seniors, as well as works and performances by MFA students.
‘The show is in two formats,’ explained co-artistic director and clinical associate professor Kerry Ring. ‘Half will be created and filmed entirely remotely, by individual dancers working from home, and utilizing pre-approved indoor and outdoor locations around Buffalo. We refer to this process as ‘Dance for Camera.”
”Dance for Camera’ is very much about each individual student creating and editing their own work digitally,’ said co-director and clinical associate professor Jeanne Fornarola. ‘It addresses the importance of the dancers learning new skills for a new age. It has stretched everyone.’
‘I think we’re going to see a lot of Buffalo in the student videos, like Delaware Park and other familiar landmarks,’ Fornarola added. ‘It will be interesting to see how the landscape and the architecture (of the city) becomes a part of the dance.’
The second format of the program is happening in Theatre and Dance’s ‘laboratory spaces’ at the UB Center for the Arts Mainstage and Drama Theatre, where pieces are being created with strict social distancing.
‘Some are solo and duo works, with quartets being the largest grouping,’ Ring explained. ‘In all cases our students will be separated by (safety) partitions which can double as part of the set design. We’re practicing creativity through great restraint. The works will be captured and edited via a multi-camera shoot by the UB Production Group.’ In addition, design technology professor Lynne Koscielniak and her students will provide innovative lighting and scene designs to give the production the professional luster which audiences have come to associate with Theatre and Dance’s traditional stage productions.
In reference to the show title, ‘Home’ is dance created and filmed in the traditional UB theaters, and ‘Away’ refers to pieces individual students create remotely, resulting in an eclectic, mixed program stylistically, scenically, and emotionally.
‘It’s a great collaboration with dance faculty and students and our Design Technology counterparts in Theatre and Dance, to move dance into the digital age,’ Ring said. ”Dance for the Camera’ was already making its way in the field, and now it’s a whole new platform to reach audiences. This is a new form of art, and like everything else (related to Covid-19) it has opened up new opportunities for space and presentation. We’re encouraging young artists to speak their minds through their bodies.’
Ring and Fornarola will both create choreography for ‘Home and Away,’ along with clinical dance professor Jenna Del Monte Zavrel. Other choregraphers include MFA dance students Jacquie Cherry, Meg Kirchoff, Kate Mackey, and Phil Wackerfuss, and undergraduates: Stephanie Avila, Daniella Bertrand, Emma Colligan and Mandy McClenigan, Alexis Corletta, Homeria Lubin, Ally Mersereau, Sam Tilley, and Kelsey Wegman.