Rushing on stage with music and the sound of water in the background, the first dancers of the last performance of New Moves: Flux took the stage a month earlier than in years past.
New Moves usually premieres in December, but Ray Tadio, teacher of the choreographers for the show, found that the department was “bottlenecking” many of the large shows, which he said creates difficulty for the students and the audience at the end of the year.
Before the show, the cast circled around Tadio to thank him for all that he has done for them throughout the semester. He circles them in for a group hug before the last showing of the performance.
“Congratulations to you guys for creating such thought-producing work,” he said. “I love you guys and I’m just so proud.”
With eight pieces in the show and 11 choreographers, there was a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time for the performance in November. Malyn Johnson, dance major and choreographer, found that out while co-choreographing The Flower Race, a racial commentary piece.
“I did feel there was a crunch of time with the show being a month earlier,” she said. “But all the choreographers and dancers managed to use their time wisely, resulting in a beautifully made showcase.”
Johnson had choreographed before, but it was her first time co-choreographing with Joceline Granados. They created a concept using flowers as their inspiration for the movement, leaving the dancers in the shape of a lotus by the end of the piece.
“Instead of making the piece too literal, we decided to use two different types of flowers to metaphorically represent two different races,” she said. “They’re all the same … they’re all flowers. Therefore the title of our piece, The Flower Race, symbolize[s] the human race.”
Dancer and freshman, Ezra Samuels, said this was their first show. Samuels danced in Please Hold On, choreographed by poster child Jessica Defranco. The piece created a narrative around riding MUNI in the city, with MUNI sounds and dancers miming, riding and swaying as they would on a bus.
“I’ll definitely miss the show process. I got close with and learned a lot from older dancers who I wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to work with,” they said. “I didn’t feel much of a crunch time with the early show. We finished our piece well in advance [and] we just had a whole lot of fun.”
Each dance was dynamically different from the next, ranging from creepy to visually beautiful. Each piece showed off each student choreographer’s personal style.
Marley Carter, freshman dance major, said she would attend more shows because of the quality of the work that was put into the performance.
“I honestly came to the show because I had to for dance class, but I really liked the performance and would go see this again,” she said. “The show was an exciting and excellent showcase of what the composition students have been working so hard on.”
With so little time to produce the show, choreographers had to be ready to create and to mentor their dancers. Tadio believes they did just that.
“It is a bit tough because it’s a month earlier, [but] this group of choreographers really rose to the challenge,” he said. “Anything I threw at them, they handled extraordinarily well.”