Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's Opening Night!

After months of hard work, passion, and creativity, we are so excited that tonight is the opening night of Afterimages!  Come to the Studio Theater in the Noel Fine Arts Center tonight, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday at 7:30 pm, or Sunday at 2:00 pm.  Tickets are $21 for adults, $20 for seniors, $16 for youth and $4.50 for students with UW-Stevens Point I.D (free with a UWSP I.D. on the day of the show).

The Stevens Point Journal recently ran a fantastic article about Afterimages that features a brief explanation of each work and some thoughts from Michael Estanich, UWSP associate professor of Dance.  Be sure to check it out for some additional insight into the pieces that will be performed this week.

Finally, check out the Theater and Dance Department's Media Marketing group's promotional video for Afterimages!

Hope to see you all at the Studio Theater sometime between now and Sunday!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Afterimages Unplugged 2015

It's been a busy month since Afterimages Unplugged, with rehearsals for this month's Afterimages production in full swing in preparation for opening night this Wednesday.  So, to renew your excitement for Afterimages and remember the beautiful works that were performed at the end of October with all of the passion and hard work that was involved, we'd like to share some photographs from Afterimages Unplugged!

Photography by Raju Karki, Emmy O'Connor, Sydney Enzler, and Aaryn Wertz.  If you'd like to see more of Raju's work, check out his Facebook page at Raju Karki Photography.

Choreography: Katie Menard

Choreography: Jarrell Homesly

Choreography: Ivy Boudreau

Choreography: McKenna Emerine

Choreography: Jarrell Homesly

Choreography: Kaylene Sheik

Choreography: Anna Kuryzinski

Choreography: Kirsten Brenden

Choreography: Chelsea Connor

Choreography: Claire Penning

Choreography: Alyx Johnson and Emily Hein

Choreography: Elaine Stone


Choreography: Monica Endres

Choreography: Faith Setzke

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Meet the Choreographers: Claire and Ivy

This week, we'll be hearing some thoughts from Claire Penning, a junior Dance and Elementary Education double major from Winona, MN, and Ivy Boudreau, a junior Dance major and Psychology minor from Stevens Point, WI.  

Where did you find the inspiration for your concept?
The main inspiration for me piece came from my cousin’s baby boy. We were at a wedding and it was beautiful to watch him look around at everything and everybody with such an innocence and awe in his eyes. He made me think about what is what to be a child and how much I have grown since then.

What style is your piece?  How many dancers are in the piece?
My piece is mainly modern based, but with very pedestrian movements. I have seven beautiful dancers in my piece and they have brought my ideas and vision to life.

What are some strategies you use during the rehearsal process? 
It was mainly a trial and error process. I would start a small phrase and then build off of it. Sometimes I really liked where it went, while other times I would scratch it and try something else. My dancers were always open to trying any material; they made the creation of my piece fun and I looked forward to working with them at every rehearsal.

How have you grown as an artist through the process of creating a new piece of choreography?
I have learned to trust my instincts and myself. There were times when I really wanted a phrase to work, but it was not fitting with the rest of my piece, so I had to let it go.

How does one of your "typical" rehearsals work?
We start off reviewing any material that needed to be clarified or was changed in the last rehearsal, from there we run the piece one or two times and then slight adjustments are made. From there we would typically learn new choreography and run the piece probably two more times before rehearsal ended.

Where did you find the inspiration for your concept?
All my life, I've loved water and felt a strong connection to it.  Even though its power is absolutely terrifying, there is a beauty in something that can be so gentle and peaceful, but is also completely unpredictable and could kill you.  I began thinking about water and more specifically the ocean as a metaphor for the human mind, and from there, my cast and I began to uncover sets of polarities and single ideas that are true of both the ocean and the mind.  Both have an ebb and flow between sound and silence, oppression and liberation, showing love and compassion and being blindly cruel, and both have mysterious depths that will probably never be truly reached.

What style is your piece?  How many dancers are in the piece?

The style of my piece is modern, and there are seven dancers, plus myself.  I have such a fantastic cast - they've been engaged and helpful and full of ideas and creativity and good energy at every step of the way, and I couldn't have done it without them.

What are some strategies you use during the rehearsal process? 

For our first few rehearsals, we worked a lot with improvisation to figure out how to embody the idea of water - not just being in water, but also being water.  We also spent time brainstorming connections between the ocean and the mind, writing them on the whiteboard in the studio, and then using these words as prompts for improvisation so that we could begin to feel these ideas in our bodies and movements.  I also sometimes taught my cast a phrase and then asked them to create a new, brief phrase using a few movements or gestures from the original phrase, which I then used to developed new variations on the theme of our original phrase.  All of this allowed us to really work together and collaborate as a group - since the work is about the mind, I really wanted it to contain the ideas and inspirations of many different minds.

How have you grown as an artist through the process of creating a new piece of choreography?
I have gained so much confidence in trusting my instincts as an artist and listening to that little voice deep inside that pushes me in the right direction.  I've also learned to never let myself off the hook - if something in the work felt "off" or didn't make sense or bothered me in some way, I always took the time to figure out why it wasn't working and how I could change it so that it more accurately conveyed the information I desired, and I'm trying to bring that attention to detail into my work in the classroom as well.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Meet the Choreographers: Ariana and Emily

This week we will be featuring Ariana Shank, a Graphic Design major and Dance minor from Sheboygan, WI, and Emily Hein, a Dance major from De Pere, WI.

Where did you find the inspiration for your concept? 
Ironically, it came from my recognition of my creative process; simply creating art, and creating conceptual ideas behind my work and projects. Being a Graphic Designer, 2D Artist, and a Performing Artist, I realized that for me personally,  these require a creative process that is the same across the board, for each one. I wanted to create a piece that went through stages I experience through all of the art forms I am involved with. 

What style is your piece?  How many dancers are in the piece? 
It is mostly modern/contemporary, with a bit of goofiness and sass. I selected six beautiful dancers to make my idea come to life, and am still debating putting myself in the mix, making it a total of 7. I give so much credit to those choreographers who can easily put themselves in their own piece, I found it so hard to do! 

What are some strategies you use during the rehearsal process? 
The first rehearsal I watched how the dancers moved together through improvisation. I also improvised a lot and recorded it to get a more specific type of movement quality I wanted, and pulled movements in that were incorporated from it. I also had them write down a story and create a solo from their story, some of which I have used in the piece, or extracted for other parts. 

What does a "typical" rehearsal look like? 
Typical is very dependent on the day and the agenda, I sometimes even discover what we will be working on once everyone is there and I see them together in the room. I usually begin with a small idea of what I know we need to work on in rehearsal, and then it just builds on whatever I think needs the most attention. I love to bounce my ideas off of them, and receive feedback, or hear if they have any ideas themselves. I like to think it is a fun environment for my dancers, we laugh a ton, and poke fun at some of the movement qualities and ideas we collaborate on or that I make up. However, very rarely do we get too off track or out of focus. I give them a lot of credit because I feel like most of the time I am pulling ideas out of thin air, and
I can’t image how hard it must be to follow what I want them to do, and they are wiling to do anything. 

How have you grown as an artist through the process of creating a new piece of choreography? 
One very specific area I have discovered about myself is that I can not create movement outside of rehearsal. It is something that I have to do on the spot during our rehearsal to get a better feel of specifically what I want in that point of time. That is the joy I find in choreographing, and one that I believe relates to my 2D and design work, I can only do it in the moment, I think that is when I can truly create something meaningful and sincere. 

Where did you find the inspiration for your concept?
The inspiration for my concept came from my own journey within the dance program. Often times I have had to remind myself to enjoy the journey and the process versus strictly focusing on the destination. However, sometimes, no matter how hard I try to find freedom as a dancer, I may be hesitant to change.

What style is your piece?  How many dancers are in the piece?
The style of my piece is modern and I have 8 wonderful cast members.

What are some strategies you use during the rehearsal process?
The major strategy I use in rehearsal is creating a base. If I have any ideas, first, I teach my cast the material. Second, I manipulate the material by having the dancers have a different facing, timing or direction. As a choreographer, my favorite part is being able to play with the phrase material because I enjoy seeing an original through turn into a developed idea.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Meet the Choreographers: Jennifer and Elaine

Today Jennifer Hancock, a senior Dance and Arts Management major from Eagan, MN, and Elaine Stone, a senior Dance major from Ireland, will share some thoughts on their creative process!

Where did you find the inspiration for your concept?
My piece is very loosely based on Plato’s, The Allegory of the Cave from his book, The Republic. Throughout my piece, I focus on Plato’s Theory of Forms.  
Click here and here for more information about the Allegory of the Cave.

What style is your piece? 
My style of my piece is a mix of modern and contemporary.

How many dancers are in the piece?
I have six dancers in my piece including myself.

What are some strategies you use during the rehearsal process? What does a "typical" rehearsal look like?
My rehearsal process is dedicated to exploring how my dancers move. I used visual art, collaboration and improvisation as a way to create movement. At one of my rehearsals I brought in two books that encompassed the artwork of Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali. My dancers revealed their idea behind the artwork through improvisation. I do not bring in choreography to my rehearsal. I like to create movement during rehearsal so I can see how my movement looks directly on my dancers.

Where did you find the inspiration for your concept?
The  inspiration for my piece was derived from when I went home to Ireland this summer 2015.  It was inspired from my own  personal experience of witnessing the influence  of Alzheimers and it's effects on loved ones.

What are some strategies you use during the rehearsal process?
Throughout my process of creating the work I went through a series of events that were inspired from taking solo composition this year and so I have been working on integrating various tools from this class with the experimental and physical styles  of dance i am interested in.  As a choreographer I like to focus on articulation and specificity of movement, and so with that a typical rehearsal often consists of a study based on focus and intention. I really like to be specific in my work so if a sequence doesn't appear aesthetically pleasing then I know that the  kinetic response for the dancers isn't present so as a choreographer I like to see how I can encourage the dancer to find that response in my work

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Meet the Choreographers: Chelsea and Amanda

Enjoy some behind-the-scenes reflections from Chelsea Connor, a junior dance major from Hoffman Estates, IL, and Amanda Armbruster, a senior dance major from Marshfield, WI!

Where did you find the inspiration for your concept?
I found inspiration in a tragic event that impacted our country in our not-so-distant past.

What are some strategies you use during the rehearsal process? What does a "typical" rehearsal look like?
In the beginning of my rehearsal process, I was toying around with two concepts so I had my dancers improv using each concept to see how they moved together. Once I decided on my concept, we did some brainstorming to narrow down the specific idea behind the piece. From there I created and taught my cast choreography then played with spacing and facings to accommodate for the staging this year. A typical rehearsal begins by reviewing what happened in our last rehearsal then learning new material and putting everything we have together. In a couple of rehearsals I also showed my cast some of the research I had done to help me create my choreography that day.

Where did you find the inspiration for your piece?
I've always been intrigued by the human heartbeat.  I'm interested in not only the physical qualities of the human heart, but that the heart can feel so many emotions.  I'm also fascinated by the idea of pulse: everybody has their own pulse and internal rhythm.  When people come together they are able to pulse as one in a community.

What style is your piece?  How many dancers are in the piece?
My piece's style is contemporary, and it has seven dancers.

What are some strategies you use in the rehearsal process?
My strategies include improvisation, collaboration, and deconstructing phrases to find gestures and simplicity.

What does a "typical" rehearsal look like?
We usually begin with reviewing the material we worked on previously and then transition to learning a new phrase or working with a prompt or idea.  It's the dancers' job to interpret and embody the movement, so we discuss how it felt and discover different options.

How have you grown as an artist through creating a new piece of choreography?
I have become more open-minded to every new possibility and have learned to apply that open-mindedness to my work.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Meet the Choreographers: McKenna and Faith

This week we'll be hearing some thoughts on the choreographic process from McKenna Emerine, a senior Arts Management major and Dance and Spanish minor, and Faith Setzke, a sophomore Dance major from Sauk City, WI.

Where did you find the inspiration for your concept?
I found inspirations for my piece through my family; how we interact and how we feel about each other. I really wanted to create a piece that honored members of my family and the guidance they have given me throughout my life.

What style is your piece? How many dancers are in the piece?

The style of my piece is ballet-contemporary and I have two dancers in my piece.

What are some strategies you use during the rehearsal process?
At the beginning of my rehearsal process I used improv to figure out how my dancers moved, and what movements they were comfortable with. Now I come up with choreography and they help me make it make sense! They are the ones that are dancing it has to feel right in their bodies.

How have you grown as an artist through the process of creating a new piece of choreography?
I am learning to express my ideas in a new, more complex way. I am also learning to make decisions about what I like and don't like and I am becoming more confident with my choreographic process as I go along.

Where did you find the inspiration for your concept?
The piece that I am choreographing came together when I went on my family vacation to Dubuque, Iowa with my parents. My piece is based on migration of people. I will be using the migration of monarch butterflies as a representation. This idea came together when I was at a wildlife museum and the directors where talking about the migration of monarch butterflies. This was a big deal this year because over 100 butterflies were tagged and about to be released to migrate to Mexico. I connected to the piece very personally because my grandmother and I would always studied butterflies and the way they live their lives. I incorporated all stages of the butterflies’ life from: beginning stages of life, the struggles of transformation, and taking reality by flight. This piece shows how migration can be a great thing and has struggles. I based this also on dance. Every dancer has a dream of some sort; they follow their path and don’t always make it. The ones that don’t give up after falling rise up to the challenge and can take on their dreams by flight.

What style is your piece? How many dancers are in the piece?
The style of dance I will be choreographing is modern-based with contemporary ballet, and there are five dancers ranging from freshman to junior dancers.

What are some strategies you use during the rehearsal process?
It was very important to me during the Afterimages auditions that I selected dancers with great stamina and strength. I plan always plan the rehearsal way in advance, I make notes when dance visions come to mind, I present the information to my dancers, and I fine-tune the music for the piece.

How does one of your “typical” rehearsals work?

Rehearsal material is prepped in advance, yet I am flexible and open to change depending how the piece is coming together with the various strengths of the dancers. I am trying to display how the instruction I’ve received to date at UWSP Department of Theatre and Dance has improved my overall ability to dance and make my dreams reality.

How have you grown as an artist through the process of creating a new piece of choreography?
I have grown through the process of creating a new piece with becoming one with myself. Since I am doing a piece that is meant for others I want them to love it as much as I do. By constructing and deconstructing I finally am able to see how even though one thing might not have worked right away a better thing can always come from it!