Gibney Dance movement
travels to Texas State
By Mary Kincy
The mission of Gibney Dance is to create and perform contemporary choreography that expresses the humanity and physicality of women and men, and to enrich and reshape lives through programs that reach communities in need, according to its website.
Shay Ishii, publicity coordinator and lecturer for the Texas State Department of Theatre and Dance, offers information about the company and their upcoming appearances.
What is Gibney Dance?
Shay Ishii: Known for intricately crafted, powerful performances and groundbreaking community action, Gibney Dance is dedicated to exploring the potential of human communication through movement. Praised by The New York Times for “great intelligence and almost literary sensitivity,” an experience with Gibney Dance is one of commanding physicality and richly textured choreography, of physical strength, flawless technique and raw emotional power. Their passion is to create and perform engaging, intellectually challenging work in a cooperative community of shared ideas, and share the power of dance as a means for personal change and community action.
Is a Gibney Dance performance similar to popular dance stagings like Riverdance?
SI: In terms of production, Gibney Dance is similar to popular productions in that it is a full-scale performance with professional light design, a commissioned piece of music that is specially made for the dance, and a group of highly trained dancers. Gibney Dance is different from mainstream performances like Riverdance in that Gibney dancers take more of an artistic approach to the structure and choreography of the dance. One major aspect that sets them apart is that they focus the content of their dances on underlying social and political concerns while also expressing style and form through the performance. It is still a high-energy performance that will entertain and delight but it will also touch viewers in a more intimate and thought-provoking manner.
Why did the department elect to bring Gibney Dance to Texas State?
SI: Gibney Dance is one of the most innovative companies in the nation, incorporating many different art forms into their work to create one-of-a-kind performances. This production will incorporate an exquisite light design, an original score, video, movable scrim panels, overlapping dance stories and art that is drawn live, in response to the dancers, then animated and projected. All of the elements will come together to entertain and delight. One of the most unique aspects of the performance is that they are utilizing a program called SuperDraw that is a visual animation that is created live as the performance is taking place. This animation creates a new work every time the piece is performed and cannot be duplicated. So when you watch the performance you are witnessing something special each time.
What benefit do I get from attending a program like Gibney Dance if my major isn’t related to the arts?
SI: Companies like Gibney Dance create and perform these works for everyone. They are not specifically for arts enthusiasts. The benefits of attending a program like this include the exposure to a professional dance company and the opportunity to see a program like SuperDraw live. These are high-caliber New York performers and artists who, if performing in NYC, would charge significantly more for this type of production, so to be able to see a work of this magnitude for $5 is an opportunity that students will not want to miss.
Will there be a chance for attendees to meet the artists?
SI: The company is also known for their workshops and trainings to use of movement and creativity to empower survivors of domestic violence. While they are here they will host a workshop and a panel discussion that students can attend free of charge. Joshue Ott, the creator of SuperDraw, will be speaking after the performance and will lead a master class to show students how his program works.
Gibney Dance’s performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 in Evans Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students and alumni and $10 for the general public. The following are free and open to the public:
- Panel discussion (San Marcos Activity Center; 501 E. Hopkins Road) — Friday, Nov. 4, Noon to 1:30 p.m. A brown-bag lunch with drinks will be provided.
- Workshops on integrating the arts and social change (Jowers Center, Dance Studio 178) — Friday, Nov. 4, 6:30-9 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 6, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.