By Veronica Robledo
Dixie State University dance students and staff are making a name and place for themselves in an international artistic dance competition.
Jenny Mair, part-time dance instructor at DSU, learned about the competition from her colleague Liliana Candotti, who is a dance teacher in Florence, Italy. Mair knows Candotti through teaching at her summer intensives — courses that teach students what it is like to be a professional dancer — in Florence. DSU students normally get the opportunity to apply for the summer intensives, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the students are unable to participate this year. This competition helped give everyone international exposure despite the restrictions, Mair said.
Candotti invited Mair and her students to participate in her prestigious competition Concorso Di Danza Onstage, which means “Dance Competition On Stage.” Mair submitted her piece “Controversial Convergence” for the dance on film category of the competition and based her piece on the societal issues happening in 2020 and during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said she used Asian, African American, Brazilian and Western influences to create her piece. This piece was also shown at the faculty dance concert this semester.
“I did not expect to place, but it’s very exciting because it’s like being published internationally,” Mair said.
Brooke Curtis, a senior dance major from Moreno Valley, California, also participated in the competition as part of the in-studio category, which is the showcase of choreography through an unedited dance video. Curtis used the choreography she created for her senior project. Her contemporary piece, “Searching for a Feeling,” included three other dance students.
Curtis said the piece is based around the movement of searching for that one thing you need most in your life and then how the movement changes when you finally find what you were searching for.
Although Curtis was never able to perform this dance in front of a live audience, she said the live video performance was almost like the real thing.
Furthermore, the video gave students a unique chance to practice dance film, which is a trend in the dance industry, Mair said.
“It’s cool to think that amazing dancers and choreographers in Italy have even seen my work and were impressed with it even a little,” Curtis said.
Both Mair and Curtis placed second in their categories. With many competitions around the world closed because of the pandemic, this was a chance for these dancers to show their improvement from the past school year. Not only did these dancers jump at the chance to be able to perform and compete, they also received international exposure they would have otherwise missed out on, Mair said.