In the wake of the coronavirus, campus events have been drastically modified and even canceled. Many theatre arts students in Dance Concert Practicum (DANC 341) have long awaited the annual spring dance concert. However, this spring the show will persist — online. 

The theatre and dance department’s spring dance concert is produced, directed and choreographed by students, providing nearly 200 choreographic and stage opportunities, faculty adviser Christy Chand said. Although transitioning the show has brought several challenges, the producers said they remain optimistic. 

Marine sciences senior and student director Alyssa Gatan said the team has had to adapt throughout the concert’s online inception. 

“We lost the creative process we were used to having in the rehearsal space and had to adapt to creating tutorials and working together via Zoom rehearsals,” Gatan said. “We had to learn how to maintain connections and build dance together although we aren’t able to meet face to face.”

Although difficult, showcasing their work online has created new opportunities, faculty adviser Diana Stanton said. Stanton added that the online format allows audiences to see from the eyes of the choreographer.

“On the stage, audiences can view what they want,” Stanton said. “With the camera, the choreographer is more completely directing the audience’s eye, and thus we get a very intimate look inside the mind of the choreographers.”

Evan Ricaurté, student director and architecture senior, said that he is excited to share this production in light of its new format. 

“Anyone, anywhere will be able to watch it, even distant friends and family that would not normally have the ability to come to campus to see the usual live show,” Ricaurté said.

The pandemic has demonstrated the strength and resilience of the theatre and dance department, which Chand said has made her proud.

“The pieces are emotionally moving, funny, thought-provoking, visually stimulating, and entertaining,” Chand said. “It’s quite incredible to see what has developed in only six weeks, especially when I am aware of how little video editing experience most of the students came in with.”

Architecture senior and student director Lindsay Eklund said the department has demonstrated strength throughout the quarter, which she said will manifest on stage in the final performance piece. 

The title of the dance concert is Vitalis, which means “of or manifesting life,” Eklund said. Although the title was chosen before the COVID-19 crisis, it seems to be even more relevant now, she said.

“All over the world the performing arts have been shut down in person, but the community has become even more alive and supportive,” Eklund said. “This show is a representation of how dance manifests life for us, especially in times that feel hopeless or overwhelming.”

Gatan said that she is also proud of the final product. 

“To be a part of something so new and unique to the Cal Poly community is very humbling,” Gatan said. “This situation gave us all a new way to think about dance production and how we can continue to dance together during this time.” 

The spring dance concert is free for everyone and can be viewed online anytime between May 20 through the 22. Access to the show can be reserved at bit.ly/cp2020sdc and a link to the concert on Vimeo will be emailed the first day of the show.

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