*Dance: All types, submitted in movie file format and still photographs.
Mendocino College Dance on Film Festival 2020
Dance! Dance! Dance! Film!
Mendocino College choreography students turn the Shelter in Place ordinance into an opportunity to create dance on film. With Mendocino College Spring Dance Festival 2020 cancelled, nine student choreographers under the direction of Eryn Schon-Brunner decided to transfer their new choreographic works to film for the first virtual Mendocino College Spring Dance on Film Festival.
On May 8, 2020, new works by choreographers Clara Carstensen, Yves Charles, Margarita Diaz, Traci Hunt, Kai Krasts, Paloma Rodriguez Irizarry, Hannah Nicole, Jonah O’Conner, and Megan Youell can be viewed at Mendocino College Dance on Film Fest.
Last Week, by Traci Hunt, seeks to evoke feelings of nostalgia and a melancholic relationship with the past. What happens when the events that happened last week cloud what is happening right now? Traci was inspired by her personal experience of being unable to detach her present circumstances from everything that happened yesterday, over the weekend, or last week. “I think this piece has a lot of potential to be adapted,” Traci says, “and I do believe it has the potential to be further explored and fleshed out in group work on stage.”
The Other, by Traci Hunt, is an exploration of similarity and likeness in humans, a search to find out what we hold at our core that connects us all. According to Justin Vernon, “It’s really hard to separate and truly decipher what one person is, because you don’t have one person without the other.” This piece came about organically, and the shift to video definitely changed the course of the piece and its theme. “Nevertheless,” suggests Traci, “the evolution of the piece was fun to watch, and moving it to a video format allowed me as a choreographer to push the boundaries of what can be said through movement with the theme of likeness in mind.”
Meraki, by Hannah Nicole, is a visual documentation of one dancer's exploration, due to the global pandemic of Covid-19, in a world which has been practicing social distancing, to experiment in a new environment: an abandoned garden area that was left forgotten. Being secluded in your home for weeks on end can easily become an emotionally and mentally trying event for a person. “I was losing all inspiration for creating art,” claims Hannah, “but I found that, if I forced myself to continue dancing, my mood was instantaneously lifted. That is why I made this video; because no matter what you may be going through, sometimes all that is needed is to try to ‘reinvent yourself,’ see things through a new perspective, push through your struggles and see how you come out on the other side.”
Quarantine Dayz, by Kai Krasts, looks at how the youth play with the dirt and the grime of their world and situation. The piece is inspired by the nihilism occasioned by the apocalyptic world we now live in, and how the end is surely nigh.
Work in Progress
Work in Progress, by Clara Carstensen, is a dance about emotional pain and trying to pretend everything will always be okay, even if that only leaves you feeling numb. It is the feeling of realizing you have lost something you didn’t know you were losing. “I choreographed this dance based on a very emotional event that happened recently in my life that changed my viewpoint on trust,” offers Clara. “The title indicates that healing from emotional pain will always be a ‘work in progress’, and it is important to have patience with this process.
Paloma Rodriguez Irizarry
DEATH FLESH, by Paloma V. Rodriguez, expresses the waking of an emotionally dead body. The piece explores how the body’s lack of sensation leads to its collapse into darkness, and, at the end, brings the mind to a point of emotional reconciliation with itself. “It was a dark and terrifying piece for me to create,” says Paloma, “because it brought out very uncomfortable feelings.” The video shows fragments of the creative process and the interactions of DEATH FLESH between the dancers. The creative process started in February, 2020 as part of the Mendocino Spring Dance Festival 2020, but the piece was transformed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paloma Rodriguez Irizarry
LIMIT(LESS), by Paloma Rodriguez, confronts, explores, and penetrates the invisible barriers that we face. Her work challenges how the body perceives, interacts, and transforms these realities into movement. It illustrates how the environment changes the quality of movement, and it investigates how to play with these changes. LIMIT(LESS) is a creative response to the cancellation of the Mendocino College Spring Dance festival 2020.
Breath of Life
Suspense, Drama, and Art! All in one short video! This video conquers all of its kind, with intensity and dramatic cinematography. You will either be terrified, mesmerized, hysterical with laughter, or all of the above!
This dance illustrates the dark aspects of the pandemic—not only the medical side, referring to the Breath of Life, but also the social side, referring to the distress of having to shelter in place. “I have a newfound respect for people who create videos like this all the time, and I think I will do videos for my dance pieces in the future,” says Jonah.
Broken, by Megan Youell, represents the inner thoughts and coping processes of a woman after she has experienced trauma. “I think that sometimes we all feel broken in ways,” suggests Megan.
Tally is an exploration of time, self, and environment. Shot in an empty swimming pool, the piece gives a voyeuristic glimpse into the life of a person in isolation.
DNCE is a compilation of dance videos from Diaz’s sleepless nights, which weaves different genres into one cohesive film about just letting yourself feel and move. When getting lost in choreography, sometimes just letting yourself go and dancing mindlessly is the answer. “This is a virtual scrapbook of my many nights of just vibing with my movement,” says Margarita.
Margarita Diaz & Paloma Rodriguez Irizarry
Unidas is a project that seeks solidarity within our movement. “She moves, we move, she aches, we ache, our greatest compliment to the earth is not to follow her but to move with her,” says Margarita. Unidas is a beautiful collaboration between two strong women who encourage each other to create even in difficult times.
Mendocino College Dance on Film Festival is just one section of the Mendocino College’s virtual art work that can be viewed in the Spring Student Art Show Virtual Art Gallery. Thanks to Doug Browe and Tony Novelli, who coordinated this virtual show, in which many different Mendocino College art forms will be shared, such as paintings and drawings, ceramics, culinary arts, theater, music, and creative writings.
NOTE: More information on these submissions can be found in Upcoming Performances in the Dance Department page.