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Two UNM students in the Department of Theatre and Dance rehearse a duet for the semiannual student choreography showcase. This semester’s show “Inside Look” features dances that explore myriad human experiences from procrastination to dreams. It opens Friday in Carlisle Gym and runs through May 5.

Hands-on learning culminates in dance showcase

A man and woman embrace on a dark stage, pulling each other close in a loving dance. In the space of a few minutes, they are both on their backs. The man appears to be dead, but the woman stands and slinks back to the shadows.

“Inside Look” is the semiannual student choreography showcase put on by the Department of Theatre and Dance. It represents the culmination of a semesterlong process wherein student choreographers work with faculty mentors, dancers and lighting technicians to produce a compilation of dance performances.

“It’s a student showcase, but it’s similar to what you would see in the professional world in terms of the quality of choreography and of the quality of the dancers,” student director Emily Bryan said.

Bryan is a second-year graduate student who is directing “Traces,” one of the featured performances. Since she began developing it last fall, she said her piece has changed quite a bit. The event’s hands-on approach to learning for student choreographers is what makes the showcase exciting to develop for, she said.

“What’s exciting about student choreographers is that they’re developing their artistic voice through this process,” Bryan said. “Every semester’s showcase is completely different and new.”

“Inside Look” features nine performances developed by nine choreographers: “(in)Flux” and “Down to the Wire” by Peter Bennett; “Aureola” by Esteban E. Garza; “Sin Compas” by Ysabela Trujillo; “Farruca” by Dolores Garcia; “Duet por Alegrias” by Lydia Johnson Gallegos and Yarrow Perea; “Solo” by Radi Shafie; “/peculiar” by Lisa Nevada; and “Traces” by Emily Bryan.

Topics explored in the showcase include dreams, romance and procrastination. The performances will incorporate a blend of many different styles, such as modern dance and traditional flamenco.

Dancer Dalton Valerio will be performing in three of the nine pieces. Valerio, a biology major, said work on this semester’s showcase tested him both physically and emotionally.

“The choreographers really challenge the dancers to find a meaning behind what we’re doing,” Valerio said. “They’ll give us a general meaning of what the piece is about … and they’ll tell us to take that meaning and really run with it.”

Bryan said that although choreographers assign meaning to each piece, audience members should not have to understand a piece to enjoy it.

“The best thing to do when you’re watching a dance concert and you don’t know anything about dance is to be very open-minded and not necessarily try to figure out the meaning behind each piece,” Bryan said. “As long as you open yourself up to the experience and enjoy it, you’ll get something out of it.”

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“Inside Look”
Opens Friday
April 26, 27 and May 3, 4 at 7:30 p.m.
April 28 and May 5 at 2 p.m.

Carlisle South Arena Performance Space in Carlisle Gym
$12 general admission,
$10 UNM faculty and senior citizens, $8 staff and students

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