TWU Dance opens 2023-24 season

Two dancers reach across one another

SEPT. 6, 2023 – DENTON – You won’t see timid baby steps in the opening performance of the Texas Woman's University Division of Dance's 2023-24 season. This show dives into the deep end.

The very deep, contemplative end.

The annual Jordan Fuchs Company Concert will examine dancer agency, the development of the TWU dance curriculum, and the evolution of the head of the division.

"I think one of the things that's neat about this concert is reflecting on the work I've created," Fuchs said. "It deals a lot with enabling and supporting dancer agency and choice making in the creative process. That's something that we emphasize here in the department and in the kind of dance work I make."

The show takes place Sept. 8-9 at 7 p.m. in the Dance Studio Theater, room 208. Tickets are $7 and are available online only.

The concert features three live stage performances and two screen dances performed by 11 dancers, including Fuchs. Seven of the dancers are TWU Dance MFA alumni, two are BA alumni, and one is a current BA student.

The works in this year's concert:

  • Close, an improvised duet performed in silence by TWU MFA alum Lily Sloan and Fuchs that highlights small details of weight shift and support for two dancers in a compact space with limited opportunities for engaging with momentum and impulse.
  • Kairos, a solo by TWU MFA alum Melissa Sanderson, created in collaboration with Fuchs, with a movement vocabulary generated by culling solo movement content from a videotaped improvisational duet practice. With original music by Leoncarlo Canlas and costume by Kelsey Oliver.
  • An untitled duet with TWU MFA alum Annalise Boydston and current TWU BA student Esmerelda Ledesma, with a movement vocabulary generated from a list of more than 100 written movement prompts and interpreted by the dancers. It has an original score by Brittany Padilla.
  • Quartet with Walls, a screen dance for four dancers isolated in time but nonetheless revealing intersections of place, movement, color and sound through a syncopated dialogue of sensing, seeing, touching and waiting. Directed and edited by Fuchs with score by composer Andy Russ and dancing by TWU alumni Daunte Borner, Leah Estick, Yeajean Choi and Martheya Nygaard.
  • Landscape Without Horizon, a 2017 festival favorite screen dance collaboration between Fuchs and Choi with sound design by composer Russ. It's a screen dance of engaging gravitational incongruities through a body-mounted video camera and features dancers and TWU alumni Kara Beadle and Tiffany Bierly, exploring weight-sharing, balance and multiple support surfaces in a white space without clear differentiation between wall, floor and ceiling.

The event also examines the progression of Fuchs' choreography, dance and philosophy of working with dancers, stretching back beyond his arrival in Denton in 2007 and steadily moving away from regimented movements.

"The vocabulary is created new for each dance," Fuchs said "It's like you're creating a new language and writing a story each time you make a dance. How can I not just impose my vision on the dancers so that they're not just fulfilling what I tell them to do? How can I benefit from their expertise and perspectives? In traditional dance making, the choreographer tells everybody what to do, and that can be very effective in a lot of situations. But the kind of creative processes I do, I'm interested in the dancers contributing to the movement vocabulary and performance in ways that I might not think of myself and are really engaging."

For example, the untitled duet employs prompts that the dancers use to create their own dance.

"We started with verbal and written prompts. The dancers interpret those prompts. You have dancers interpreting the same prompt but in slightly different ways. I created the prompts but the dancers create the outcomes, what the movement is. That's how we develop the choreography."

It's a concept ingrained in the TWU dance curriculum, and it's paying off in Fuchs working with the former students who make up his company and seeing how they've developed since graduating from TWU. That, in turn, pushes Fuchs into new creative directions.

"I'm less interested in doing what I already know how to do," he said. "I'm more interested in new ways of making dances. It's almost like encouraging democracy. How can you encourage participation more and more and have a more decentralized creative space more and more? How can I achieve that? That's one thing I've definitely been noticing in my stage work.

"It also reflects my getting older and not able or as interested in demonstrating all the movement myself," Fuchs said. "It used to be all the movement went through my body. I felt the need to demonstrate. But I find it's more interesting what the dancers can do themselves and integrating their perspectives rather than limiting it to what I can do."

And there's the reality of the changing world of dance, dealing with how the pandemic forced dancers into less physical contact and proximity.

"Improvisational duet form in which people share weight together is a little cross between wrestling and ballroom dance, and that's always been at the core of what I do," Fuchs said. "But with the pandemic, when you couldn't practice that, my work shifted towards less partnering. It used to be that partnering was dancers doing lifts or sharing weight together. Now it's more dancers in space. Moments of coming together are less frequent, and I've reversed what I used to rely on in my work. It's another way of creating relationships in space, and creating relationships is at the core of my work."

Jordan Fuchs Company Concert
September 8-9, 7 p.m.
Dance Studio Theater DGL 208
Tickets $7 general admission. Tickets available online only.
SEATING IS LIMITED. Further information and details will be available on our social media channels.

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Page last updated 9:02 AM, September 6, 2023