May 19, 2020 – When Santa Fe College switched from on-campus to online classes because of COVID-19 in early March, student choreographers had already been selected to create works for Dance Theatre of Santa Fe’s annual summer show. The impossibility of in-person rehearsals meant that “Room to Dance” faced a dim future. But with the creative and determined “show must go on” attitude that is a hallmark of the performing arts, the students and their instructor forged a new path.
“Room To Dance ON CAMERA!” is a digital production of the works of 10 student choreographers that will be offered in a free live stream at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 12-13, 2020, on the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Department’s website at sfcollege.edu/finearts.
The video, which features the choreographers in performances of the dances they created, will be followed each night by a live Zoom teleconference during which the dancers will answer questions from the audience.
“This is the Fine Arts Department’s first show in a new platform that may well be the guinea pig for our immediate future,” explained Dance Theatre of Santa Fe Co-Director Melissa Brenner. “Our students have been amazing through this whole process. We started and finished with 10 choreographers; we didn’t lose anyone during the switch to online instruction. The dancers video-recorded themselves in whatever spaces they could access—homes, yards or outdoor parks. The new skills they’ve gained are the silver lining in what could have been a very difficult or disappointing situation. Being involved in this brand-new performance territory helped the students process the emotions and hardships they experienced because of the conditions surrounding the pandemic. Their new effort sparked a lot of joy, not only in the students but also in the Fine Arts Department’s faculty and staff!”
“Room To Dance ON CAMERA!” will include various dance styles including hip-hop and contemporary modern dance. Brenner said that the overall message is one of hope—that we can keep moving, creating and spreading joy in a time that can feel hopeless.
To create their videos, the students worked with each other to learn how to use their smart phones and laptops for video recording. They were assisted by Melissa Nunez, a Fine Arts Department staff member who specializes in digital media; by Eric Flagg, coordinator of the Digital Media Department; and by other members of the Fine Arts Department.
“Our Fine Arts classes are required to have a performance component and although there’s nothing like a live performance, what these students have done is remarkable,” Brenner concluded. “They showed the discipline, passion and creativity that studying the arts develops. They didn’t give up, they adapted to a new situation, and during a difficult time, they inspired us all.”
“Room To Dance ON CAMERA!” is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and by the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Department.