Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IU Contemporary Dance Junior Choreographic Performance project will be presented via film. Rather than being discouraged, however, junior Rhiannon Freimuth said the students saw it as an advantage.
“We took it as an opportunity,” said Rhiannon Freimuth, a junior in the Contemporary Dance program. “We thought, what is something intentional that you can do with a frame on a screen?”
The students, who would normally produce a live showcase at the end of the fall semester, have spent the past few months curating their pieces for film. The showcase, “Framing Figures,” will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday via a free livestreamon Zoom.
“I enjoyed playing around with camera angles and picking and choosing what the audience is going to see,” Freimuth said. “We don’t get to do that for live performances.”
While a faculty adviser is available to mentor, the students are ultimately in control of choreography, costuming and any additional technical components of the program.
The collective concept of the show is created by the group and each individual student choreographs a piece. The individual dances cover contemporary, relevant topics, Freimuth said.
“Our pieces deal with feelings during the initial lockdown and multicultural identity,” Freimuth said. “One of our choreographers did an ode to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
The pieces are very personal to each choreographer and are framed through a personal lens, Freimuth.
“A lot of them deal with what we are going through in the country right now,” Freimuth said.
Selene Carter, associate professor of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance, said she is amazed at how the students have adapted to the situation, specifically filming and editing dance film.
“It pushed all of us,” Carter said. “In a lot of ways, it gave them much more autonomy in the creative process and curation of the films as a whole.”
Typically, the dancers would rehearse in groups in a classroom setting. This semester, the rehearsals were reduced to two per week, one over Zoom and one in person with no more than three dancers at a 6-foot distance and wearing masks.
Carter has taught this class since 2010. She said this year, the project was much more independent than it would have been in a classroom setting.
“I’m so proud of how they’ve all become artists in their own right,” Carter said.
Carter said she is looking forward to watching the film, and is so proud of what they’ve created.
“You make this dance, you nurture it, you care about it and then you let it go,” Carter said. “And then what? I can’t wait to see what they do next.”
“I always say I want to prepare my students for their future, not my past,” Carter said. “And that certainly is the case.”