March 17, 2023 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | By Brett LeVan
Colorado College’s Theatre and Dance faculty members Patrizia Herminjard ’96 and Pallavi Sriram, along with 13 student dancers, collaborated to put together this year’s highly anticipated DanSix performances.
DanSix performances have taken on many different forms, originally called the Faculty Dance Concert.
When recounting on this year’s performances, Sriram said, “we wanted to make longer works…and something bigger and have the space and time to delve more deeply and work in a more process-oriented way.”
While the two approximately 20-minute performances are quite different, there are many commonalities that connect the two, which Herminjard says often happen during DanSix performances.
Herminjard, choreographer, filmmaker, and lecturer at Colorado College, has been a part of DanSix ever since being a student here. Herminjard and the student dancers in her piece – Iyanla Ayité, Kieran Blood, Nadia Jackson, Natalie Longue, Kupai Marx, Emily Ng, and Doré Young – worked together to create “On the Edge of Impermanence.”
The theme of connection runs through much of Herminjard’s piece, inspired from the lack of connection the COVID-19 pandemic caused but also “honoring how important it is for us to touch and connect.” Herminjard said, “we can feel apart, and we can feel isolated but, in the end, we connect to the earth, we connect to each other, and we connect to our environment.”
A section of Herminjard’s piece includes a voice over by Camila Espinosa-Short reading her text titled “Life Seeking Life.”
Espinosa-Short said that the intention for “Life Seeking Life” “is to expand our collective understanding of what knowledge is, from where it is derived, and where it could take us from here.”
Herminjard made it a point to highlight both connection and knowledge in her piece. Additionally, Herminjard said, “this is my first time doing DanSix in the black box and it’s super fun because there are so many theatrical elements you can do in a black box … there is no proscenium … everything is wide open.”
When choreographing and creating her piece this year, Herminjard said that her performances are always about showcasing the students. “I want to see something about the students that makes me feel like I’m really seeing them,” she said.
The goal was for this piece to feel surreal, represent connection and knowledge, and for each dancer to be showcased – all these goals are apparent and achieved in Herminjard’s piece, “On the Edge of Impermanence.”
Pallavi Sriram, Assistant Professor of Dance Studies at Colorado College since 2018, has a background in South Asian classical dance and music, as well as a lifetime of “research [addressing] the intersection of dance, socio-politics and global histories from the vantage point of South Asia and the Afro-Asian world.”
Sriram and the student dancers in her piece – Imani Allen, Ryenne Ching, Tseromg Dhondup, Mahnoor Rahman, Lucy Rogers, and Anya Quesnel – collaborated to create “Remembering the Quiet,” which was created through a shared movement vocabulary and a co-created story specific to each dancer. The inspiration for Sriram’s piece was centered around the idea of “what myth do we feel like we need right now,” a question which she drew from a multiyear collective of artist in residents.
When asking Sriram about the choreographic process, Sriram said, “I did not have any idea what the shape of this work would be when we started,” however, there was a common inspiration centered around “playing in the space of mythology [to create] a performance that felt immersive and intimate…there were particular performance traditions” through storytelling, rhythm, free drawing, writing, structured improv, and movement explorations which shaped the piece.
Sairam continued to say that improvisation, especially improvisation between dancers, requires time and a reciprocated trust, because “knowing someone through movement is a very intimate way of knowing someone” – a trust, understanding, and art apparent in her piece this year.
Finally, Sriram said, “Remembering the Quiet” centers around “what do we care about, how do we imagine this thing that we need, and then what does it look like to materialize that…this is really about what came together through what [the dancers] brought, and each of them brings something so specific.”
Many incredible artists went into the production and completion of DanSix this year—from lighting and production designers, musicians, writers, choreographers, artists, and dancers, it is evident that this year’s DanSix performances were one of a kind.
The last remaining DanSix performances of the year are March 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Norberg Studio A, Cornerstone Arts Center.