Students will perform in front of a live audience for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Oct. 16 and 2 p.m. Oct. 17, includes jazz, modern and contemporary ballet dance works.
New faculty member Chanon Judson, BFA ’01 (center), speaks with students during a rehearsal earlier this month. They are performing a piece from the Urban Bush Women repertoire, the first work to be restaged at UB.
Senior dance student Michaela Bradley (dancing left) said working with Judson has been a great experience and the students are able to add their own touches. “In rehearsals, we spend a lot of time cultivating our emotions and how they can enhance the piece,” she said.
“Looking at the strength of the performers, I lose sight of the year of lost practice. They have been incredibly disciplined and are performing beautifully,” Judson said about performing live again.
Bradley (left) said rehearsals can be challenging, but having an audience again is exciting. “Knowing how life was without in-person dance gave me an even greater appreciation for this process,” she said.
The show takes place in both the Center for the Arts' Mainstage and in the Drama Theatre, where this piece is performed.
Michael Deeb Weaver (right), ’08, is co-director of this Zodiaque production. “We are so ready for an audience. These dancers have been working so hard without the payoff of an audience standing and cheering and clapping for them, and their work hasn't suffered a bit because of it and that's a true testament to them as artists and as people,” Deeb Weaver said.
Deeb Weaver demonstrates a movement while giving the dancers some notes on their performances. “It becomes hard for me to stay in my seat because I want to go up there. I get so inspired by what they're doing,” Deeb Weaver said.
Senior Mia Gionis (center) said she learned a lot from the year away from live performances, but is happy to be back. “I am through the roof, honestly. Like livestream performances and dance on film, it's all amazing and we've learned a lot about that section of dance, but to be in front of real people and get that energy from people is just undeniable. It's the best feeling ever,” Gionis said.
Gionis said it's challenging to perform while wearing a mask, a requirement for the show this week. “This piece is jampacked with energy, precision… We definitely need our breath, so that's a challenge.”
Published October 14, 2021