Location, Location, Location: The arts go mobile with UK Dance

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Public Affairs)  From a campus parking garage to a rose garden, the arts will spring up around campus this weekend as the University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance presents EchoLocation: The Mobile Tour, a site-specific dance performance, April 2 and 3.

With many safety protocols still in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UK’s dance program hopes to present a diverse performance opportunity for students, faculty, staff and Central Kentucky community. Most recently, the focus is on “site-specific performances” in which the venue is intrinsic to the work. Locations of performances will be easily accessible through the production’s program and a map which can be found on a phone or tablet — “mobile.” And the audience will move from location to location — “tour.”

“EchoLocation” consists of choreography by UK students and faculty performed at various locations on the University of Kentucky campus. The seven locations travel from outside Singletary Center for the Arts up Rose Street to The Arboretum, and the choreography explores a variety of themes from COVID-19, politics, culture, environment and simply movement for movement’s sake.

Work featured in “EchoLocation” includes:

“Plum Blossoms” — EveMarie Bessenbach, adjunct faculty UK Theatre and Dance

According to Chinese philosophy, the plum blossom symbolizes perseverance, hope, and renewal in overcoming adversity. The plum blossom blooms between the winter and spring seasons, a parallel to our current world in 2021 as we slowly emerge from the quarantine of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Plum Blossoms” is an exploration and visual representation of the adversities experienced during the pandemic, yet there is always the promise of spring and of hope.

“Self-Acceptance” — Madi Moorhead, dance sophomore from Grand Rapids, Michigan

Self-acceptance is something that a lot of people in today’s world struggle with. “Throughout this solo work I wanted to share my personal experience with my audience. I am taking all of the negative thoughts and words I have been called and writing them onto my body. As the piece goes on, I finally find peace and happiness within myself and wipe these negative words off of my body,” said Moorhead. She hopes the audience finds moments to connect to, relate with and find solace from her work.

“Woven Wishes” — Brittany Johnson, dance and family sciences senior from Louisville, Kentucky

“Woven Wishes” is a work grounded in attachment theory, the idea that childhood and lived experiences affect our behaviors and attitudes surrounding relationships and intimacy. Drawing on in-depth research and personal experience, the resulting work is an exploration of what it means to connect with another human and all the joy, tension and discomfort that can sometimes follow. How do we see and experience connection? How do we respond when people get too close? And more importantly, when presented with the fire of connection, how do we choose to keep warm?

“Proximity” — Haley Shaver, dance and chemistry freshman from Lexington

Haley Shaver explores what it means to just dance in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her piece, set atop a parking garage, dives into movement for movement’s sake. The duet with Claire McDermott, a dance senior from Lexington, is meant to be an analysis of organic, unifying movements set against the backdrop of the isolating times of COVID-19.

“ISA” — Sylvannah Regalado, dance junior from Lexington

“Isa,” which means “one” in Tagalog, dives into the effects and emotions that result from isolation. It challenges you to think about how being isolated can take a toll on your well-being. Quarantine, time-outs, being alone in your room, prison cells, etc. What does that do to a person? This work delves into the thoughts that arise, how people reflect on their selves, and more. Do you like being alone?

“Unfolded” — Caitlin Espinueva, dance senior from Louisville

With the ever-growing culture of fast fashion, “Unfolded” comments on the realities of the industry and its damaging effects on both the environment and human rights. The fast fashion industry has a business model built on cheap materials using cheap labor, resulting in a mass production of low-quality clothes with a short lifespan made at the expense of massive amounts of textile waste and extremely low wages for garment workers.

“How it Started vs. How it’s Going” — Genesis Lorjuste, dance and integrated strategic communication senior from Kennesaw, Georgia

“How it Started vs How it’s Going” examines the affects that trauma has on the everyday emotional and physical activities. The piece explores this idea through past, present and future lenses. Additionally, the dancers and Lorjuste give everyday anxiety, human characteristics through personification. After enduring a traumatic experience, it is common to dwell on the “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” which can be crippling when there are so many things we must think about as humans. “The dancers will be acting the wars in my mind and pulling from their own experiences to bring life to my personal narrative as a survivor,” explained Lorjuste.

“Supercuts” — Breanna Hagan, dance and biology senior from Owensboro, Kentucky

Due to the recent pandemic, we can’t spend time with our friends and loved ones like we used to. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t still spend time with each other. “My friends and I love to get into a studio late at night and create little works just for us, and we’ve been able to become closer by creating together through heartbreaks to celebrations. ‘Supercuts’ is a small glimpse into our little world,” Hagan said.

“To feel the earth beneath my feet” — Stephanie Harris, lecturer

There is a constancy to nature which remains a steady gravitational force within our unstable world. “I have spent the past year, seeking its sanctuary as a space of enlightenment, a space of knowing as I struggle to perceive this existence,” Harris said. “We are of the earth and it calls to us to remember the impermanence of things. This enduring companion calls us forth to dance with delight in the knowing of the freedom that can be found within its shelter. I feel the earth below me and the sky looking endlessly above and within that place, my heart remains open.”

“EchoLocation” will be presented 5 p.m. Friday, April 2, and 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday, April 3. Tickets for “EchoLocation” are $10. To purchase tickets, visit the Singletary Center for the Arts box office online at www.scfatickets.com.

After purchasing a ticket online, the schedule and more information will be available. During the performance, the audience will move together from one location to the next, beginning at the Singletary Center for the Arts and ending at The Arboretum.

All patrons are asked to follow CDC guidelines during this event and golf carts will be available for those who require assistance traveling from location to location. Please contact the Department of Theatre and Dance at uktheatre@uky.edu or 859-257-3297 if you require mobility assistance.

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