Over its 50-plus-year history, Weber State University’s Orchesis Dance Theatre has long highlighted original faculty and student choreography through live performance.
As a result of coronavirus-related safety precautions, WSU Dance Area faculty members Erik Stern and Joseph Blake have designed this year’s event to exist in the digital sphere, featuring a series of three 30-minute live-streamed dance events over consecutive Saturday evenings in November.
“Difficult situations sometimes have within them a potential good,” says Stern, noting the varied ways students have engaged with dance in adapting performances for the screen.
Student works offer a range of themes, from a solo based drawing on childhood memories to a trio using unusual rolling objects to suggest cooperation despite separation. To bring the recital to life, the dance area has collaborated with WSU’s communication department and in-house video production team for film production. In a cross-disciplinary approach, students studying television and digital media production will handle many of the filming aspects.
Moving Company, the dance area’s outreach program under the direction of Stern, has created a visually arresting work along the theme of sustainability. Titled “Sojourners,” the dance features five WSU dance students and one guest graduate of the program. The piece incorporates large sculptures by WSU emeritus visual art professor Jim Jacobs. These wood-based works create a stunning environment for the dancers. Moving Company partners include WSU Sustainability and local teachers and students.
“Sustainability is a curious word,” says Stern. “What is important to sustain? What types of sustainability catches people’s attention, and why?” Sojourners is a visual parable designed to allow viewers to discover what they themselves feel about the subject.
“The collaborations with other disciplines and artists from this journey can never be replaced,” says dance student Paul Wright. ““I find my experience with Moving Company has been an introspective glimpse at who I am, while also showcasing what I can do.”
“Dancing in the Stream” will be live-streamed on November 7, 14 and 21, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. Each night of the performance will feature unique performances and the work of different students.
All tickets to the virtual performance are free and can be reserved at weber.edu/artscalendar.