The UC Davis department of theatre and dance’s ITDP (Institute for Exploration in Theatre, Dance and Performance) program presents Nectare, a prelude to the choreographers’ Master of Fine Arts theses, to be presented in spring.
Nectare aims to address things like touch and rhythm, visual perception and the immigrant experience. It is also a series of dance vignettes and can be categorized as experimental, given that the first 25 minutes require the audience to stand.
Christine Germain and Jarrell Iu-Hui Chua, MFA students in UC Davis’ department of theatre and dance, choreographed the vignettes with the dancers, who include Nicole Casado, Deidre Morris, Veronica Haro and Andrea del Moral.
“Nectare refers to a physical web that connects things and brings them together,” Chua said.
The performance is comprised of a series of vignettes which Chua and Germain created independently of each other.
The audience is invited to walk around the dancers, becoming active spectators.
“The performances will start in the gallery, move to the hallway, then to the University Gallery kitchen and then back to the start,” Germain said.
Chua explains that though the work represents a collective project, each piece maintains its own sense of individualism and meaning.
“We created these pieces separately,” Chua said. “They only share a similar space and time. We also wanted to see how people working on several completely different things could bring them together.”
Their sole collaborative effort consists of a short video named “Nexus.”
“It’s about moving from sedentary life and accepted social structures into discovering oneself in the world,” Germain said.
Germain, who was born in Quebec, was inspired by her experiences as an immigrant.
“I am interested in the Other, how we perceive the Other and how we are perceived. I’m also interested in transformation, how the Other becomes ourselves in cases such as when we move, learn a new language or have to adapt a new identity,” Germain said.
Several of her vignettes also force an unconventional perception on the audience, such as a piece which is viewed from above.
“I want the audience to embody and experience the adaptation to a new theater experience,” Germain said.
Chua likes to explore touch and rhythm and how an emotional narrative can be formed out of those, as well as cultural expectations based on gender and race.
“Eighty percent of my work depends on who I’m collaborating with. I ask my dancers how they can work on the theme and then work in their contributions,” Chua said.
Germain and Chua are currently working on their thesis performances, which will premiere in February 2013.
“We wanted to get feedback on our work,” Germain said. “We also wanted to do it in a different environment than what we’re used to in the dance world.”
Chua was excited about the reception of Nectare.
“I don’t know how it will be received or what it will look like. I like the sense of unknowing,” Chua said.
The performance will take place at the Nelson Gallery and the University Club.
“We’re really excited to have them perform here,” said Katrina Wong, the assistant to the director of the Nelson Gallery. “We’re proud to bring art and dance together.”
Nectare will be held at the Nelson Gallery and the University Club on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. This is a free event.
JOHN KESLER can be reached at email@example.com.