At UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts (CTSA), modern dance is alive and well, with a twist this year!
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, UCI’s New Slate Online dance concert was streamed via YouTube. This free event featured both live and virtual dances. The performance was followed with live artist-audience conversations about these new ways of dance making. Albeit, a YouTube window, it’s still a breath of artistic fresh air.
What made this performance exceptional is the approach taken by UCI Professor of Dance, Lisa Naugle, who serveed as artistic director for this event. Lisa obviously has a long history in dance, but she is also known as an innovator who explores the combination of live dance and interactive technologies. (See link below.)
Lisa brings a unique perspective, saying, “This is not just filmed dance. The audience was able to see these new methods for the first time. And the audience is pretty important. Without this sharing practice, I am not sure we have a performing art practice.” (Personally, I wouldn’t have missed this performance for the world.)
In Lisa’s view, the audience is also being transformed. She told me, “This is something really new. Like emerging from the rabbit hole, we have not predicted what we’re in right now. Even the audience as an identity is redefining itself.”
Lisa also explained how the dance community is evolving in cyberspace. The choreographers and dancers — all of whom are pursuing an MFA degree in dance — composed 12 original pieces for the New Slate Online performance.
Presented annually, the concert is the first seasonal dance performance at CTSA. I’ve attended several of these events and, without exception, they are a sensation!
With theaters closed, this online performance offered a brief respite from the suffering. It’s what I refer to as our artistic cerebral hypoxia (our brains suffering from lack of oxygen).
When I asked how the students are adjusting to this new art form, Lisa explained, “For students of dance, this connection with the audience is so important. They need to know somebody is out there.” The students can count on me! As I have been for so many years, I was an enthusiastic audience member.
In a year filled with so much turmoil, it was wonderful to take in a deep breath of fresh artistic air.
To learn more about Professor Lisa Naugle’s distinguished career, click here.
To read about Lisa’s history of combining dance with new technologies, you can review her publication library by clicking here.
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