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With adjustments made in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Dance is giving us a holiday gift a little bit early. Starting on Saturday, November 21, 2020, at 7:30 pm, their concert, Virtual DANCE/Hartwell, will begin streaming on an on-demand basis, through December 26. Though the event is free, patrons must register online at fineartstix.brockport.edu to receive the link to view the performance. Donations will also be accepted at the ticketing site. Patrons may contact the Tower Fine Arts Center box office for guidance at (585) 395-2787.
Assistant Professor Stevie Oakes and Emma Scholl, the costumer for the department, who are sharing the artistic director responsibilities for the concert, opted for a slight shift in the concert’s standard procedure to address issues of exclusion and access: This year all of the dance majors were invited to participate in the virtual concert, “perhaps better representing the Department of Dance's vision that each creative voice is vital,” according to the two faculty members. Throughout this tumultuous year, Oakes has observed a “resilience of spirit which has brought many artists back to the drawing board to innovate their creative processes… Dance is no exception, and the dance majors at SUNY Brockport have delved deeply to reimagine their choreographic craft for the screen.”
The nine choreographers whose works comprise the concert “not only worked within parameters of safe physical distancing measures but also creatively sought to utilize a new set of choreographic tools,” Oakes related. Occasionally, “some editing techniques which are not possible in live performance [were utilized]: overlapping dancers, setting dancers in multiple locations at once, or changing the viewer's perspective mid-dance to arrive at a different angle.”
In the concert, graduate student Natalia Lisina explores intertwining narrative and folklore around the White Lady's Castle with site-specific footage and complex editing. Senior BFA candidate Victoria Congdon cheekily tells us to “Suck It Up, Buttercup” in a moment where the pandemic and her footage literally turn the world upside down. Other choreographers bring us to streetlights and rainy evenings, an intimate look inside a bedroom and an internal landscape, or a scenic pastoral view.
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