When Robert Moses choreographs, he sees his dancers as colors of paint, adding different movements until he feels his art is ready to be shown. He will look at a dance and say, “Maybe it needs a little more blue,” and then he will find the dancer that’s ‘blue’ to him.
The University of Nevada, Reno’s Department of Theatre and Dance is getting ready for their Spring Dance Concert. The concert runs May 3-5 with a show every day at 8 p.m. and an additional 2 p.m. matinee on May 5.
“Expect dancing that will knock your socks off,” said Noelle Ruggieri, a junior dance major at UNR.
Besides dances by UNR students, the concert will also feature Robert Moses’ Kin (RMK), a professional dance company based out of San Francisco. In March, two members of the company, Norma Fong and Crystaldawn Bell, came to UNR for a residency. Fong and Bell taught various classes and rehearsed with a select group of UNR students for the upcoming concert.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a single person that doesn’t work hard in this department,” said Fong.
Hard work came in handy for the students in the Dance Concert when it came to the rigorous rehearsal process, which has been demanding on the brain and body, according to Ruggieri.
“The RMK company members are brilliantly vibrant souls that brought to life, very quickly, a piece that is exhilarating to watch,” Rugierri said.
Each of the 14 dancers (one being a possible understudy) had to learn every part of the dance, not just a single part. It wasn’t until the residency was nearly over that each dancer was finally assigned a single part.
All of the student dancers were excited to have a professional dance group come to UNR. Rosie Trump, a dance professor at UNR, was glad to get a more “local” group like RMK because it makes being in a professional dance company a more tangible idea for her students.
“It has been an honor to work with RMK,” Ruggieri said. “It’s been interesting seeing how much their approach to modern dance differs from our characteristic of modern dance and where they overlap.”
Besides learning choreography, the students were also introduced to the ideologies of RMK, whose mission is to use movement as the medium through which race, class, culture and gender are used to voice the existence of our greater potential and unfulfilled possibilities, according to RMK’s website.
“The entire company is so different,” said Fong. “There’s so many things with us combined that you can take from.”
Throughout the residency, Fong and Bell were impressed with the professionalism shown by the student dancers. After Fong and Bell left UNR, the student dancers continued rehearsing their part of the concert alongside their professors. Both the Dance faculty and students are eager to show UNR what their department has been rehearsing.
“The department is small, but I think that is what makes it so special,” Ruggieri said. “The dance department is this wonderful environment where you can engulf yourself in dance technique.”
Tickets for the concert can be purchased on the Department of Theatre and Dance’s Website for $15. Students with a school ID get discounted tickets for $5. Student tickets are limited, so be sure to get them early.