UW-Whitewater Theater/Dance Department honors participants of DanceScapes 2020

Dancers perform “Noche Desmadroza” by choreographer and sound editor Alfonso Cervera. DanceScapes ’20 is rehearsed in Barnett Theatre on the UW-Whitewater campus on Thursday, Mar.12, 2020, two days before it was set to open. The performances were cancelled along with all campus events due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic and precautions against large crowds. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

The following students helped create DanceScapes 2020 at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Whitewater, WI: Kelly O’Hara, who is studying Physical Education.

Whitewater, WI: Jon Lotti, who is studying Theatre.

Each spring, UW-Whitewater’s Department of Theatre/Dance presents this culminating dance performance that showcases students’ choreographic voices.

Students experiment with various contemporary dance forms and approaches, using skills they’ve acquired through academic courses. During the fall semester, faculty members evaluate pieces for inclusion in DanceScapes. If picked, choreographers work alongside lighting and costume designers to solidify their pieces for the spring performance. Dancers meet weekly for three-hour rehearsals with their choreographer(s) to learn the array of pieces. While intended for students with a dance minor, students of all majors and minors at UW-Whitewater are welcome to audition to participate in either a faculty or student piece.

This year’s event was scheduled for March 14-17, but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, before the cancellation, DanceScapes participants were able to stage a private dress-rehearsal performance for cast and crew before the state’s Safer at Home order. Excerpts can be viewed on UW-Whitewater’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIfxlO141-I&feature=youtu.be.

Alfonso Cervera, co-artistic director, praised students for their work, explaining that the lack of a public performance does not diminish this artistic accomplishment, and that – in a sense – the creative process has become the performance.

“It’s important that we understand and use this time of crisis as a chance to remember that the work created goes far beyond being able to perform it in front of an audience. What matters is that you made it to the end, you prepared, and took this challenge with ease,” Cervera said. “A performance becomes ephemeral to an audience, but to us as movement practitioners, it is an ever-reoccurring physicalized memory that continues to exist whether we acknowledge it or not.”

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