Dance video

UArizona alumni shine through ‘Retrograde Lemonade’ dance video

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A dance video sending a message about freedom, individuality and self-expression is making its rounds online.

The creativity behind it came from University of Arizona alumni.

Imagine telling a story without using words. Could you do it?

A group of artists took on this challenge and “Retrograde Lemonade” was born.

“If you asked me two years ago if I was going to do, direct a dance video, I’d probably say you’re crazy,” said Nolan Veneklasen, the video’s director.

“Retrograde Lemonade is a moving, emotional dance video that explores individuality, separation, unity and self-love,” he told KGUN9.

He says the idea for the project started in 2019. Then in 2020 he met JaVonte ‘Marquez, one of the dancers in the video.

“I was walking into a general education class at the University of Arizona and I see this kid in the back and he has a super cool style,” Veneklasen said.

“With this one, it was a happy accident,” added Marquez.

After that, Marquez was there and Veneklasen started building the team, which also included Alejandro Olmedo, Carolyn Mckee and Marquez’s sister Tia Newby.

“It was a learning experience for everyone,” Veneklasen said.

“I mean we had a lot of budget cuts, obviously. It was great run and gun and I think we made it work for, you know, the two days we were shooting,” Olmedo, the cinematographer, said.

“It was a bit difficult to visually tell this story without a plot or words,” added Mckee, the producer and poster artist.

“We tried to take something we could only hear and not see and turn it into something you could only see,” Veneklasen said.

So they teamed up with Loki Moon, a local music group that created the song Retrograde Lemonade.

“Retrograde lemonade — I didn’t understand what it was about at first,” Marquez told KGUN9.

“Me neither. For sure. Like, listening to it, I was wondering what they were talking about, but it definitely resonates now,” Newby added.

After long hours of improvisation and editing, the video finally fell into place and took on new meaning.

“Now that we come back to it, we can see that it was about being free in the moment. Exploring and living life for what it is,” Marquez said.

“The plan of the story is first to find yourself, then to find a community,” Mckee told KGUN9.

“Retrograde Lemonade is kind of like looking back and reflecting on yourself,” Veneklasen said of the two-year journey with this video.

Here is their message for those who wish to enter the film, dance, television and art industry.

“Practice, practice, practice,” Olmedo said.

“If you have an idea, give it a try,” Mckee added.

“You have to do your best in everything you do and when you do, you will see the results you want,” Newby told KGUN9.

“Even if you’re not good at it. You’ll get good at it by working hard,” Marquez agreed.

Click here to watch Retrograde Lemonade.