The Mendocino College Dance Department’s Repertory Dance Company will present Dancing Between the Lines. Mendocino College Repertory Dancers perform works choreographed by Alice Blumenfeld (Artistic Director, Abrepaso Flamenco), Kara Starkweather (Artistic Director, Mendocino Dance Project), Meredith Cabaniss (Artistic Director, selah dance collective), Kirsten Turner, Miriam McNamara, and Eryn Schon-Brunner. The performance features costumes by Kathy Dingman-Katz and lighting by Steve Decker. Performances are November 16-19, in Mendocino College’s Center Theatre on the Ukiah Campus.
The Mendocino College Repertory Dance Company is a diverse group of college dancers who share an interest in dance as a performing art. The company, which formed in 1986, is currently under the direction of Eryn Schon-Brunner. Each fall the company spends time learning the works of 4-6 professional choreographers adding to the diverse repertory of dances the company can perform, providing young dancers with experience and connections in the dance field.
According to Schon-Brunner, Dancing Between the Lines explores topics ranging from the holocaust to relationships, from daily newspapers to geometric patterns. Each choreographer uses movement as a tool to investigate subjects of interest. The dances presented are the culmination of their artistic discoveries, an offering to the audience.
Meredith Cabaniss, a Ukiah local now residing in Santa Barbara, founder and artist director of selah dance collective, returned home to set work on MCDRC in early September. Cabaniss reset a vibrant piece of choreography that explores The Scribble, kinesthetic force with audio, visual and kinetic elements that all come together to create another kind of being, a kind of digital double. Using video projection, she investigates the intention behind the patterns and habits that we develop because of the things that happen to us and the things we ourselves do. Cabaniss sighs and smiles saying, “People are so much more than the worst thing they have ever done.” She is “really very excited to bring [her] professional artistry to Ukiah and share the many styles and forms she has explored since she left.”
Guest artists Cabaniss, Blumenfeld, and Starkweather have motivated and inspired the MCRDC dancers, encouraging them to ‘fine tune’ their dance technique, while staying true to what they love about dance. Alice Blumenfeld, an International Flamenco Artist, guided the Repertory Dancers through a sultry rhythmic exploration of one’s connection to others amidst feelings of solitude and loneliness. Blumenfeld describes Sol y Soledad is an exploration of finding the scarf and our connections.”
Closer to home, Starkweather has spread her “desire to create a vibrant dance community on the [Mendocino coast],” into the heart of Mendocino County. The choreography she set on the MCRDC has moments which defy gravity, with elaborate partner work, stunning energetic phrases, and playful sequences. Influenced by her time dancing for Bandaloop, the foremost San Francisco-based aerial dance company, she shares her knowledge of how a body can efficiently move through space while investigating relationships between dancers.
Local choreographers Kirsten Turner and Miriam McNamara have reflected on personal and cultural histories in the works they have set on the Repertory dancers this fall. Kirsten Turner expanded Chan Chan, a tribute to her maternal lineage to Havana, Cuba. Invoking Cuba’s sultry Latin feel, in a ballet influenced by Latin dance forms. While, Miriam McNamara, pays homage in Numbered, to the victims of the Holocaust, specifically those who were interned in concentration camps, such as Auschwitz and Birkenau, where prisoners were tattooed with identification numbers.
Eryn Schon-Brunner asked the dancers to draw on what they find in today’s newspaper to weave their own truths into, Between the Lines, an physical investigation of how the steady stream of digital and printed media impact us over time. She asked the dancers, ”Where do we hold the information we take into our minds in our bodies, how does it affect us, what do we do with it?” Schon-Brunner will also premiere, “I Choose, I Reject”, a dance addressing the idea that each day, each minute, each moment is filled with choices and rejections, some simple, some complex. It is the stockpile of our choices that makes us who we are, defines us as individuals, the sum of our actions and opinions. Both dances will be accompanied by the haunting vocals and musical arrangements of Lindsey Chapman.
Dancing Between the Lines will run for one weekend only. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 16, 17, and 18 at 7:30PM, and Sunday, November 19, at 2PM. Tickets: $15 general; $10 ASB cardholders, seniors and children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the Mendocino College Bookstore, Mendocino Book Company, and online at www.artsmendocino.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the door, if available. Audiences are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. Get your tickets today! For more information, please visit www.mendocino.edu.