The University of New Mexico Dance Program hosted an online concert for Spring 2020 on May 1, inviting the public to watch students perform “Observer as Poet” with choreography centered on the theme of quarantine.
The program consisted of a mix of different students and locations, all reflecting on the stress and anxiety that has been prominent for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I found relief in watching the performing arts world come together when this has been such a difficult time to physically do so. The performers proved that although they are physically separated, they are emotionally together still.
“Students have invited us into their homes, featured their loved ones, and articulated their very real fears and hopes in a time of communal hardship,” the description of the video said.
I saw many of my own emotions reflected in the video, and found peace knowing that these students were expressing them in such a beautiful way. Through their dancing, we are all connected.
The title of the opening video, “Co.Vid.19,” created by Alyssa Trujillo, was an appropriate and well-named start to the concert.
One of the most heart-warming things about watching this online concert was getting to see the montages of different students keeping up their practice in difficult times.
The videos included an array of upbeat and slower music, allowing the students to demonstrate their feelings through a variety of forms. It was interesting to watch how their dances told the story of their emotions.
The performance that stood out to me the most was “Redemption at the Water” featuring Rebecca Huppenthal. This dance considered all of the hopelessness and worry that was present in all of the performances and took it to a place of deeper reflection. Simply watching relaxed my soul.
The music — “Down to the River to Pray” by Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch — was perfect for the serene dance that Huppenthal presented. The camera angles were also very well-done and deserve recognition.
Cristina Tadeo’s performance stood out to me as well, capturing the fear and boredom that we all feel while stuck in quarantine very accurately. The transition from black-and-white to color was a nice artistic touch, as well as the time-lapse.
Most of the students performing took advantage of their local scenery and incorporated this into their dances very well, especially “Ambiente” by Evelyn Mendoza.
The presentation of the videos was very interesting, with factors like camera angles, montages, and cuts making a big difference in every performance.
One style of presentation that I particularly liked was the film rapidly switching between Amy Schofield and Kara Olguin dancing identically in “You and You Alone.”
The program said that one of the goals for this performance was to highlight emerging choreographers, which was a success. These students were given a good opportunity to excel in their art and the video showcases that.
Overall, what I was most impressed by was the ability of the students to express their emotions without saying a single word. The art of dance is something that takes someone special to conquer, and we see that in this concert.
It was amazing to see 40 minutes pass in what seemed like five.
As a fine arts major myself, I have to admit that it is disappointing to see everything go virtual. Although it allows the fine arts world to continue, there is so much that is lost online.
I look forward to the ability to safely attend another dance concert again in person.
All videos included adhered to quarantine regulations. “Colander Phone” was filmed in fall 2019 and edited remotely.
Megan Gleason is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @fabflutist2716