NEW BRITAIN — Excitement and anticipation are building as Central Connecticut State University’s dance education program and Dancentral prepare for its spring showcase, Huescape, on Sunday, April 24.
This is the second live dance performance for the programs since the pandemic brought campus life to a halt.
“The name ‘Huescape’ was chosen to indicate the humanities landscape within our campus community,” said CCSU Dance Education Program Director Pascal Rekoert. “The show honors CCSU faculty and organizations who tirelessly promote equity, justice, and inclusion for the purpose of a just society. Examples are the African Studies Center and the LGBT Center. All choreographic works are linked by the color of their theme, creating a panorama of dances that aims to move the hearts of its audience and bring people together.
The show will take place at Welte Auditorium at 3 p.m. and will also be streamed live at ccsu.edu/dance.
The packed program will include six world premieres choreographed by department faculty, three featured student works, two commissioned guest works and five re-enacted masterpieces.
Faculty member Lillian Cook created two pieces about students in her hip-hop and intermediate jazz classes. Professor Stephen Hankey has created a sultry jazz piece and re-enacted a modern piece. Ingrid Howe-Green has created a contemporary piece that celebrates unique individual expression juxtaposed against societal pressure to conform. Dancentral faculty member and director Erica Nelson choreographed a contemporary ballet piece exploring full-bodied movement and a contemporary piece, produced in collaboration with her dancers.
Commissioned works include Grey, choreographed by guest artist Alexandra Mitchell, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, choreographed by guest artist Emily Bufferd.
“Our students take full advantage of this opportunity to showcase their wide range of talents and superb training. They can delve into the cutting-edge creations of two guest choreographers who are contemporary dance leaders, delve into modern and jazz classical works, show off their hard-hitting hip-hop talents, tap into subtle acting skills into fun contemporary works, and exercise all of their hard-earned technical prowess in a ballet work,” said Rekoert. “It’s a program designed to provide challenge and joy to dancers and audience alike.”
Rekoert said they started training for the show in late January.
“Many dancers get together for a long rehearsal day on Sunday, often starting as early as 7:30 a.m. and continuing until 10 p.m. In addition, many have additional rehearsals during the week for small group dances,” he said. he declares. “The dance faculty spent hours rehearsing, editing the music and looking for the perfect costume. I am honored to work with such talented and passionate people.
Not only is Rekoert directing, but he also has four plays on the program, including his play, Greener Grasses, a re-staged duet that showcases the journey and development of a deeply loving relationship. And the show will close with her play, Abschied, a playful and humorous investigation into the representation of the female form with the fine arts.
“It was fun putting on the show and creating these pieces,” Rekoert said. “In the past, I have created dances as a choreographer for dance professionals around the world and produced for international dance festivals. Doing both as part of my job at CCSU was the perfect amalgamation of the joy I find in creating and producing dance. It was a lot of work, but when you’re doing what you love, the work isn’t as strenuous as it seems.
Admission is free for the Huescape showcase, but donations are accepted to support researchers in the dance program.
“This performance was ultimately made to celebrate you, our audience. We hope to see you in person at the Welte Auditorium or virtually,” said Rekoert.