The University of Utah Department of Modern Dance Blog

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fall 2012 Guest Artists

In addition to a three-week residency with John Beasant at the beginning of fall semester, the Department of Modern Dance continued its guest artist series by hosting choreographers Elena
Demyanenko and Yannis Adoniou for six-week residencies, as well as welcoming distinguished alumni award recipient and independent choreographer, Keith Johnson, and presenting master classes by Royal Ballet School Assistant Director, Jay Jolley, Ririe Woodbury Artistic Director, Charlotte Boye-Christensen, and Dancers from the Trey Mcintyre Project. The throughline of inquiry inspired by this diversity of aesthetics, styles and creative processes was an in-depth investigation into movement quality.

Elena Demyanenko, a former member of the Trisha Brown dance company, initiated this line of research by bringing a somatic approach to technique classes, based in Body Mind Centering technique. Utilizing anatomical imagery, breath, meditative floor work, repetition with variation, subtle partner and self manipulation, she offered dancers a more nuanced and refined qualitative ability rooted in internal understanding.

San Francisco based choreographer and dancer Yannis Adoniou followed. His singular approach to technique class employed vocalization, improvisation, visualization, touch and the natural world combined with rigorous classical technique. Working integrally with class accompanists, he pushed dancers to discover more sensate dancing through the interpretation of vibrations and clear identification of different movement consistencies.

Both Elena and Yannis also created new choreographic works while in residence. Elena
worked collaboratively with third year graduate students to deconstruct habitual movement
patterns, and investigate their personal narratives in a piece entitled “Becoming,” that
premiered in November at the Bare Bones Graduate Concert. Yannis has choreographed a new
work "Naivete in Minor," for the Spring PDC concert that allows the performers to explore an
inner journey of sensation while sharing the personal and individually felt physicalization of
the work. With a stunning stage design infused with interactive digital technology, the piece
features many vignettes of human experience that range from the vast and chaotic to the
subtlest moments of connection between us.

Additional masterclasses have been interspersed throughout the term offering students a
glimpse of the multiplicity of voices that constitute the contemporary dance landscape and
providing them fresh opportunities to apply the skills and understandings acquired in their
technique classes to new contexts.

Currently Daniel Squires former member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company is setting a Cunningham Repertory work for Spring PDC and offering classes in Cunningham technique.

In March visiting artist Sidra Bell will be in residence to create a new work for the
senior class and teach across the curriculum.

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