The Dance Department Presents Dance Innovations 2022: Escalate

Courtesy of Rayn Cook-Thomas

From Nov. 23 – 25, the department of dance presents Dance Innovations 2022: Escalate. Escalate features the choreography of 23 fourth-year BFA majors and is performed by dance students at the McLean Performance Studio.

Abbey Richens, a fourth-year dance major, says that, “the piece I am creating is all about my experience uncovering repressed memories through movement. I have been using this process as a catalyst for self-reflection and putting together the fragments where trauma can be processed.”

Ayden Mauro, a fellow fourth-year dance major, explains that her piece discusses women’s rights and the struggle to achieve equality. “The six dancers in my piece are all strong, powerful female dancers who resemble global femininity and the struggles within it, coming together to prepare to fight misogyny against women. The piece is intense, high in stamina, and exhausting, as well as honest, gentle, and vulnerable,” says Ayden Mauro, a fourth-year dance major.

Each dancer has the opportunity to explore and develop their choreographic signature, producing an overall performance that is rich in diversity and engaging.

Ying Nan Shi, a fifth-year dance major, has developed his piece through a “thought lens,” saying that, “the lens breakdown comes into two parts — the camera’s lens and the lens on a spacecraft. My creative process is based on my version, coming from the music that I enjoy and the things that I love to do. These things affect my artistic interpretation.”

When discussing creative processes, Zuri Skeete, a fourth-year dance major, explains that her process focuses on honouring and encouraging collaboration with her dancers.

“I typically start with a very general theme, that then gets honed into something more specific as we dive into it as a cast, and things begin to emerge. I always ask my dancers what methods they like to use to create because I see value in being able to love and enjoy the process,” continues Skeete.

Natalia Cooper, a fourth-year dance major and third-year environmental studies major, adds that she has been participating in Dance Innovations since her first year — it’s one of her favourite activities and she loves creating the show at the end of the term, even if it is just for friends and teachers.

“I love meeting new people and spending an abundance of time with them. I love dancing with people I have only ever danced with in technique classes and seeing them dance naturally, or dancing with students in other years who I’ve never even seen dance at all. I love being a part of different creative processes, in hopes of finding one that I resonate with,” says Cooper.

Other dancers mirror this sentiment, with Richens adding that she values, “the risk-taking and freedom to express our creative visions as a class” and Shi explaining that he enjoys the opportunity, “to collaborate with the talented dancers we have here in our program.”

Mauro adds that she particularly enjoys, “seeing everyone’s stories and ideas come to life

and having a community that celebrates these ideas and pushes them further.”

Escalate will be presented through two sections, Series A: Resistance, and Series B: Rebellion. Dance Innovations also provides the opportunity for students to get involved in lighting design and production support.

“In the end, we are all just humans trying to live and exist. This is one example of us colliding and existing cohesively together,” adds Skeete.

Advance tickets are available until Sunday, November 20th due to limited seating. Click here to purchase tickets and to learn more about this event.

About the Author

By Sydney Ewert

Arts Editor

Sydney is in her third year at York University studying Dance. She loves to travel and explore new places. When Sydney is not editing, working, or studying for her classes, she is likely going for walks or learning new recipes.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments