Professors perform at modern dance forum in Mexico

Professors perform at modern dance forum in Mexico

Two of the University of Nevada, Reno’s dance faculty, assistant professor Cari Cunningham and adjunct professor of dance history, Rick Southerland, will represent Nevada next week at Performatica, the premier contemporary dance and movement arts forum in Pueblo, Mexico. The Mirror Has Six Billion Faces, created by choreographer and former University guest artist, Kristen Heavey, is a ten-minute physically demanding work incorporating interactive technology.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the University to showcase the growing importance modern dance plays at universities around the world,” said Cunningham. “Rick and I are excited to perform for a global audience.”

The duo, the only dance group chosen from Nevada and one of the few from the United States, will perform on April 14 with technology created by Chris Lanier, an assistant professor of digital art at Sierra Nevada College. Heavey, who founded Element Dance Theatre in San Francisco nearly a decade ago to explore the physical and emotional effects of contemporary dance, was invited after submitting an extensive package to the Performatica selection committee. After collaborating with professors Cunningham and Southerland last semester, Heavy asked them work with her and create a piece that incorporates technology and dance.

“I’m honored to be among the groups from around the world performing at this important forum,” Heavey said.

In addition, Cunningham will perform a solo piece, 41, she showcased last year in New York. Performatica, held annually at Universidad de las Américas-Puebla, is a two-week-long forum held from April 13-24, with dance performances, workshops and research presentations encompassing individuals and groups from around the globe.

“The piece is inspired by neurons that fire in the brain of an animal both when it performs and activity and when it observes that activity being performed by another animal,” Heavey said. “Two performers mirror and parody each others’ activities, while a video projection interlaces segments of their bodies so that the boundary between one body and the other is obscured.”

After years of performing and working in New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Atlanta, the team is looking forward to seeing former classmates, colleagues and professors during their week in Puebla.

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