We started this spring semester with our wonderful guest artist, choreographer and former member of the Martha Graham Dance Company: Kim Jones.
Kim visited our program for a short residency the first week of the semester. She taught master classes, gave a lecture on her creative process and professional career, and choreographed a beautiful work about and with our students.
Associate Professor Ali Duffy explains, "Witnessing our students fully investing in Kim's choreographic process and challenging physicality was inspiring. Because Kim teaches modern traditions new to our students, I enjoyed seeing them discover conceptual and physical nuances in their technique and performing abilities. Kim said it best after her residency: 'Your students jumped right in and are giving [my choreography] everything they have!' We are, as always, proud of their curiosity and growth."
Dance student Lindsey Couvillon agrees: "Working with Kim Jones was an amazing opportunity for the dancers at Texas Tech. Her piece will be an amazing addition to Dance Tech, and I am honored to be a part of it."
We are excited to see how the work progresses as our students inhabit and take ownership of the evocative movement material from this guest artist. This piece, together with five faculty works, will be presented in DanceTech (March 5-7, 2020). Tickets are available online and by calling 806-742-3603.
For some of our students and faculty (Professor Kyla Olson and myself), the semester started early this year with a 4-day trip to New York City generously underwritten by the Bohny Family Fund. It provided our students with insight, knowledge and experience in dance, art, architecture and design. While in New York, students took classes with movement innovator Barbara Mahler at Movement Research, Ballet at Peridance Capezio, and Jazz at Broadway Dance Center. They visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Lincoln Center, the High Line and more.
Dance student Kamyre Collins said about the museum experience, "The immaculate use of lighting at the Met Museum sparked ideas and inspiration for future work. Their creative use of light added an extra dimension to the artwork. The location at which I viewed the different pieces of art had a huge impact on how I personally perceived the art. I plan to find new and interesting ways to play with lighting."
And Isabella Gonzalex agrees: "The Whitney Museum had a lot of stimulating art pieces that left a lasting impression on me. Much new movement that can be found within each art piece and it would be exciting to dive deeper into the art by using dance as the new medium."
The students attended performances by dance companies Urban Bush Women and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company at The Joyce Theater, and saw a preview of West Side Story opening on Broadway in February, directed by Ivo van Hove and choreographed by Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker.
Anna Rubio was impressed with Urban Bush Women, especially: "The performances I witnessed were stunning. The Urban Bush Women were powerful as soon as they stepped onto the stage; they captivated the audience with a single look. I have never seen an all-female black company and I found their pieces inspiring. Representing their culture, they taught the audience what it means to be a powerful black woman in the world."
We want to thank the Bohny Family Fund for providing our students with these invaluable experiences. While we appreciate Lubbock, exposing our students to the extensive world of professional dance in an impactful way is challenging. Through this trip, our students glimpsed life as a professional dancer, and how much rigor, determination, professionalism, and clarity of focus it demands. The trip also taught them to reflect upon how effectively to approach their final years of education at Texas Tech University and successfully pursue a professional career. Witnessing our students' ability to take class alongside professional dancers in New York City and thrive in doing so impressed both Kyla and me.
As student Lupe Garcia explained, "My experience In New York City was greater than I ever expected, and I came back home with the motivation to inspire others with my choreography."
Shawnee Swann writes, "This trip has me thinking further into the future about what my plans are for my dance career, and it has made me realize that I need to push myself out of my comfort zone more often. I would love to do more traveling to soak up the artistry of different cities as well as train from as many different choreographers/teachers as possible.
And Rachel Greim believes the trip is a highlight of her college career: "It has increased my interest in traveling for additional education, expanding my knowledge of the world around me, and excites me more to graduate and begin my career in dance and Public Relations."