UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 06 Spring 17 Library
Jack Looney

Guest Artists in Dance and Music: Re-staging of In the Rift

Last fall, a cast of nine dance program students, ranging from first to fourth years, participated in a two-weekend residency with dancer/choreographer Jessie Laurita-Spanglet. Over the course of these two intensives, In the Rift, a dance piece resulting from a collaboration between guest artists Laurita-Spanglet and musician/composer David Schulman, was re-staged. Currently a dance faculty member at Wake Forest University, Laurita-Spanglet shared that this piece “explores and amplifies forgotten or overlooked moments of in between-ness.” This re-staging resulted in the third iteration of the piece, further amplifying the collaborative, liminal nature of this work due to the fact that “each version has been co-created and shaped by the experiences and movements of the particular cast involved,” the choreographer explained. During the rehearsal process, Laurita-Spanglet emphasized the importance of employing “improvisational structures to facilitate movement invention that was subsequently included in the work, creating a dance that is both particular to this cast and reminiscent of the versions that have already been made. In this way, In the Rift serves as a living history of the dancers that have contributed to its making.”

In the Rift serves as a living history of the dancers that have contributed to its making.
Jessie Laurita-Spanglet

Learn more about Dance!

In the Rift, was presented in the Dance program’s fall concert. Each night, the dancers were joined by Schulman, who performed his original musical score created specifically for this piece, live on stage. Schulman, known for his “nocturnal, reflective, funky, and cinematic music,” provided a dynamic musical landscape of layered electric violin that supported and interacted with the arcs, falls, and subtle shifts of the choreography. This residency provided the dance performers with exposure to a multidisciplinary, collaborative creative process, along with the memorable experience of performing live on stage alongside a musician/composer. What a unique opportunity, and one that they will likely not soon forget.

(Photo: Jack Looney)
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