On March 26, 2015, Urban Gateways welcomed 500 students and teachers from four schools to morning and afternoon performances of Creativity in Motion at the beautiful Dance Center at Columbia College. This unique matinee experience showcased contemporary dance through pieces by four Urban Gateways touring groups: Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Elements Contemporary Ballet, Piel Morena Contemporary Dance, and Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre.
Beyond viewing the dances, the young audience members had the chance to dive deeper and learn about the creative process behind dance and choreography. Between pieces, they witnessed interviews with choreographers, dancers, and artistic directors from all four companies, stressing the inspiration behind the final products. Inspiration and creativity provided an overarching theme for the performance as a whole; the finale by Elements Contemporary Ballet took students’ pre-show worksheets, in which they shared their dreams, memories, and even favorite music, and turned those dreams and ideas into a dance, “Cloudlight.” This finale drove the concept of inspiration home by making students themselves the inspiration for a dance. Seventh grade audience member Micah even had a poem featured during the piece.
“We want the artists to give context to a piece, and help to make the art form more accessible,” said Performance Programs Manager Tarah Durnbaugh. “Considering most adults have a hard time with something like contemporary dance, [we need to] guide young students through their first exposure to more abstract art forms.” This kind of guidance and inspiring exposure, Urban Gateways believes, fosters future generations of artists and arts appreciators alike.
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Photos by Lucas Anti.