Fall Dance Concert Explores Migrant Experience in Guest Choreographer’s Work

Friday, November 2, 2018

Students in the Department of Dance will perform the 2018 Fall Dance Concert November 15-18, in the Belk Theater in Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts. The four works on the program were choreographed by UNC Charlotte dance faculty and guest artists, including choreographer Claudia Lavista of Delfos Danza Contemporánea. 

The program will open with Compel and Carry, a contemporary ballet solo created by Associate Professor Gretchen Alterowitz and performed by Emma Montecalvo. Assistant Professor Tamara Williams’s work, Atoto!, follows. Created for eight dancers and performed to live drumming, it reflects her expertise in Brazilian Silvestre technique and traditional African Brazilian dance forms. The title, “Atoto!,” is from the Nigerian language, Yoruba, which is spoken by some Afro-Brazilians. The word translates roughly as a call for “Silence!” and is used throughout Brazil to recognize the power and resistance of the element earth.

Guest artist and adjunct professor Megan Payne created more &, a contemporary duet to be performed by Klaire Morgenstern and Erica Swinson. Payne is a Charlotte-based choreographer, instructor, and curator and is a contributing member and artist-in-residence at the Goodyear Arts Collective; the co-director of repCLT, a North Carolina non-profit advocating research and exchange in performance; and co-producer of ladyfestCLT, promoting dance and female makers in the southeast region. 

Guest artist Claudia Lavista worked with UNC Charlotte dancers for ten days in late August and early September to set her piece, Prow (A Journey), which concludes the concert. Lavista is co-director of Delfos Danza Contemporánea, Mexico’s premiere contemporary dance company. She has more than 25 years of international dance experience and is the winner of national and international awards.

According to Lavista, Prow is “an interdisciplinary work that uses sound and movement to address themes like migration, immigration, alienation, and identity.” The choreography portrays the physical and emotional struggle of human migration – the danger, exhaustion, and loss – culminating with the arrival at a wall that must be penetrated by empathy.

While she originally choreographed Prow for her company, Lavista worked with students to create this new version especially for UNC Charlotte. Audrey Baran, an alumna of the dance department and an adjunct faculty member, has served as rehearsal director for Prow throughout the semester. The dance department’s music director, Shamou, has composed an original sound score for the production. Lavista will return to Charlotte for the Fall Dance Concert and will converse with audience members after the Thursday, November 15, performance.

Performances of the Fall Dance Concert are at 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 15, through Saturday, November 17, and at 2:00 pm on Sunday, November 18. Tickets are $18 for general admission, $12 for UNC Charlotte faculty and staff, $10 for seniors, and $8 for students and are available at the Robinson Hall box office or online.

The Department of Dance will also present an education concert on Friday, November 16, at 11:00 am for local middle and high school students.