“Transformation,” collaborations with guest artists inspire annual Locally Grown Dance

Student dancers of the performing and media arts department will explore “the politics of expression in the dancer’s body” in this year’s Locally Grown Dance, according to the event page. Each of the four dance pieces will incorporate the idea of transformation — either literally, figuratively or both. 

This year, the dancers will be joined by the work of guest artists in music, visual arts and dance. PMA lecturers Byron Suber, Nic Ceynowa and Jumay Chu contribute choreography to the dance pieces, and, through PMA’s guest-artists-in-dance program, students have been mentored and guided by professional dancers Florian Lochner and Ayo Janeen Jackson, both of whom visited in the fall semester.  

Ceynowa describes his piece, “follow,” as “an exploration of the transformation from follower to instigator and the destruction of everything that process touches.” For “Tunneling,” Byron Suber collaborated with Matt Gagnon ’96, a graduate of the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, for the construction of a tunnel that will appear on stage along with the dancers and Suber’s videography. Jumay Chu’s piece also incorporates video, featuring “Sao” by artist Tong Yang-Tze, the 2020 Wong Chai Lok Calligraphy Fellow at Cornell, with live accompaniment by Christopher J. Miller from the music department.

An exhibition of Tong Yang-Tze’s calligraphy, “Immortal at the River,” is on display at the Johnson Museum of Art through June 7.

A third guest-artist-in-dance, Sharaf DarZaid, will perform his solo “To Be…” in the concert. While at Cornell, DarZaid, a Palestinian artist in folkloric and contemporary dance, will teach technique classes and give a lecture entitled, “Art under Conditions of Oppression.” The lecture will explore “the concept and role of artistic resistance to internal and external oppression,” according to the event page.  

Locally Grown Dance is funded in part by a grant from the Cornell Council for the Arts. The guest-artist-in-dance program has been made possible through the generous gift of Cheryl Whaley and Eric Aboaf.

Performances of Locally Grown Dance are March 5–7, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Kiplinger Theatre, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students, seniors, and the Cornell community at schwartztickets.com or at the Schwartz Center box office, 1-8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

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