Donna Jewell, artistic director for SPIN, said out of the 12 years she has taught dance at UNM, this year’s show is the most diverse.
This is in part because of the diversity within the dance department, she said.
“The dance program at UNM is very unique because it has a flamenco concentration and a contemporary dance concentration,” Jewell said.
SPIN is comprised of seven different shows titled Cantiñas, Whiplash, Sings, En la Memoria (Caña), Shifting Voices, Rainbow Etude (1996) and Amanecer (Fandango).
The dancers have been practicing since October, she said. The faculty dance concert represents the hard work put in by the faculty and students in the department.
“(The concert) provides a springboard for the dance majors to work with the faculty and the guest artists in the program,” Jewell said.
Jewell choreographed the third segment of the concert. She said she found her inspiration for the piece, called Signs, when she was in Scotland. While there, she had difficulty understanding the different signs and felt confused.
“I created a work that is rather enigmatic; it’s mysterious and humorous,” Jewell said.
Throughout the performance the dancers speak unrehearsed lines, she said. Every choreographer for each show finds their own form of inspiration for their dances, both contemporary and flamenco.
Each show brings something different to the stage, she said. Each of the pieces are strong within themselves.
Jewell said she has received many responses from the audience, many of which are positive. It is great to see the delight on the viewers’ faces at intermission.
“None of these works are complete until the audience is present,” she said.
Sarah Hogland, a senior dance student with contemporary emphasis and a conservation biology major, said this was her fourth year performing at the faculty dance concert.
Hogland was cast in three different performances this year: Whiplash, Rainbow Etude and Shifting Voices.
Phillip Baca, an audience member who has attended the faculty dance shows for 15 years, said he especially enjoyed Whiplash, as it is choreographed by Vladimir Conde Reche, one of his favorites.
“(Modern dance) is just a different expression. It is sort of an expression without words, that’s what is so unusual about it. It almost primordial, people communicating without a vocabulary,” he said.
Viewers are able to experience the diversity of the department through the show, something viewers otherwise wouldn’t be introduced to at other UNM dance shows, Hogland said.
“The department is such a unique department,” she said. “It is a very great environment to see how the two forms can inform each other and influence each other.”
Even within the genre, the movement types and aesthetics are very different, Hogland said. The concert showcases some historical work from the 1950s as well as contemporary.
“The atmosphere of the show is really unique in that it uses a lot of different forms of media,” Hogland said.
The faculty choreographs the performances, which are executed by undergraduate and graduate students, she said.
“I’ve had the opportunity to be mentored by some of the older graduate students and now I feel like I am more in the place to act as a mentor for the entering freshmen and sophomores,” Hogland said.
Rehearsing is intense, she said. Auditions began mid-September and rehearsals began soon after that.
Rachael Vega, an audience member and senior nursing and biology major, said it was a wonderful performance.
“I like it. I think that you actually get to see a taste of different styles versus all of it at once. I think it is spread out through the duration, and I think every piece is different,” Vega said.
Laurie and Dave Underwood, also audience members, said they enjoyed the show very much but the interpretive dance was different than what they are used to.
“This is not something we have very much knowledge of and it was hard to follow the modern dance, but that’s alright,” Dave said.
Lauren Marvin and Moriah Carty are reporters for the Daily Lobo. They can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DailyLobo.