Gabby DeMarchiNews Editor
Dr. Cynthia Nazzaro, professor of Dance at Springfield College, is always looking for new and innovative ways to have her dancers connect with their audiences. Every one of her dance concerts so far has been different, and recently Nazzaro has started to push her dancers to add modern day issues and realities into their choreography.
For their upcoming concert, Dancing with Isadora: A Concert of New Choreography and Interactive Media, Nazarro found a new piece of technology to incorporate into the concert.
“Dancers have been exploring different types of software and technology to bring on stage [for a while],” Nazzaro explained. “Martin Shell, our drama professor and chair of the department, discovered Isadora as a working tool.”
The program, Isadora, invented by choreographer Mark Conigilo, is a software program that emphasizes real-time manipulation for digital video.
“You could have live feed of what’s happening on stage, you could have musicians playing or it could trigger other events. You could clap your hands, and that could make lighting images on the screen,” said Nazzaro.
The most unique and creative connection between the title of the show, Dancing with Isadora: A Concert of New Choreography and Interactive Media, and the title of the software Isadora is that they are both named after one of the four founders of modern dance, Isadora Duncan.
“Isadora Duncan was a great mother of modern dance,” Nazzaro said with admiration. “She was very free spirited and a free thinker. When one thinks of Isadora Duncan, one thinks of freedom. Freedom to live your life the way you want without rules and boundaries. She was very revolutionary.”
The whole idea of incorporating dance with this new age technology will be very evident when the audience enters the Fuller Arts Center. The dancers will be sharing half of the stage with a giant screen, where Isadora will be mimicking what the dancers will be doing.
“It’s a manipulated live feed of what’s going on, depending upon what’s going on the stage,” dancer Katelyn Bermingham said. “There could be a shadow effect, or a computerized look, a ghostly look, or double vision. There [are] all different types of applications you can use. You’re getting two different views of what’s going on.”
Throughout this entire process, two computer graphics majors, Robin Clark and Alex Harrington, have been working with Nazzaro and the dancers to get the right look and feel with the Isadora software.
“The great thing about these two computer graphics students [is that] they are so interested in experimenting. They are so open-minded and curious about this process. They’ve been a pleasure to work with,” said Nazzaro.
While the Isadora software will be adding an interactive media element, the dancers have focused their pieces on different types of relationships.
“The theme of the concert is relationships,” senior dancer Kristina Dupuis explained. “There are several different aspects to it. There is a social aspect, which includes social dancing and behaviors of people engaging when they are together in a dance scene. Then there are some emotional pieces and some very serious pieces.”
While Nazzaro had a lot of input with the choreography, a lot of the pieces came from the students themselves.
“A lot of it is student choreography from class, and then there is a lot of improv [too],” explained senior dancer Kristin Conway.
The group has been working on their pieces since the end of September, and they look forward to showing off their work, but the part that excites Nazzaro and the dancers the most is the reactions they hope to get from the audience.
“The audience will have their expectations of a typical dance concert a little upended,” said Nazzaro. “It’s not a series of dances that are highly produced; it’s more of a conversation. It’s a lot of open-ended dialogue and questions. I would like the audience to come with an open mind and to come for the journey.”
Dancing with Isadora: A Concert of New Choreography and Interactive Media will be running this weekend Dec. 7-9 in Fuller Arts Center. Friday and Saturday’s performances will be held at 8 p.m., while the Sunday showing will be held at 2 p.m.