For many people, summer is a time to relax.
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For Sacramento State dance students, it was a time to rehearse for the first theater and dance production of the year “New Moves Dance Collective” a series of contemporary dance numbers choreographed by students and guests, featuring about 25 dancers.
“These students have been very dedicated rehearsing all summer,” said Professor Lorelei Bayne, the director. “In addition to rehearsals for this concert, student dance organizations offered open dance classes every Wednesday and Friday so our performers could stay in shape.”
The program features 10 works, most choreographed by students. In addition, three alumni — Daniel Avila, Diego Campos and part-time dance faculty member Melissa Cervantes — have been invited to choreograph pieces.
Avila graduated last year and was asked to re-stage “Hay Un Logar” (“There is a Place”), the senior capstone project he designed and directed two years ago.
“I jumped at the chance,” Avila said. “I was so excited to come back and really honored.”
The theme of “Hay Un Logar” reflects Avila’s state of mind when he wasn’t sure whether to pursue a career in dance and felt that he didn’t know his place. His experience reminded him of Dorothy in the land of Oz, so the dancers’ hands are painted red to represent the ruby slippers.
For music, Avila chose Max Richter’s “The Nature of Daylight.”
“When I heard that music for the first time, I automatically saw movement,” Avila said.
As for Avila’s eventual decision to follow a career in dance, it’s working out just fine.
“I’m working in dance, teaching out of two different studios,” he said. “It’s amazing. I’m living my dream.”
Johnson is a double major — dance and computer engineering. Her piece also is inspired by personal feelings about dance.
“I have a hard time expressing the full emotion of something,” she said. “So the piece is about approaching that vulnerability, to show who you really are and what the movement is really trying to say to the audience.”
The number incorporates music by Explosions in the Sky.
Observing the students’ dedication, Bayne anticipates an exciting season.
“We have a good group and a lot of new energy happening within the dance program,” she said.
Performances are Sept. 11 and 12 at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 13 at 8 p.m., Sept. 14 at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sept. 15 at 2 p.m., all in Solano Hall Dancespace.
Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. performances are $8 general, $5 for children. All other performances are $12 general, $10 students and seniors, and $8 for children. Tickets are available at the University Ticket Office, 916-278-4323 or csus.edu/hornettickets.
For more information about the theater and dance department visit csus.edu/dram or call 916-278-6368.