Page Five: World of Dance Visions
Modern & Lyrical
The Unknown Culture
By: Ithaca Dance Master Roger M. Christian

She stepped into her dancing shoes, her long auburn hair sloped down over her shoulders, she bent over to insert the straps of her Capezios into the buckles. An air of nervous expectations and deep thought came over her as she stepped onto the brown dance stage in Silver Springs, Maryland.

She came to a place of focus to prepared herself for her upcoming performance, In the distance the needle of the stereo arm touched the LP rendition of Camelot, the soundtract, and the first measures of music filled the teather. The ten year old girl burst out with her inmpromptu choreography revealing her enthusiasm of a better life for someone with Down's Syndrome. The ghost of performers that had gone before awakened. The audiance looked on with amazement as they saw the vision she sought in her every move. Her personal dance interpretation caught the imaginations of those who witnessed this courageously determined little girl. The year was 1970.

I never forgot the standing ovations, nor the tears of the audience. I'll remember the stance of pride she took as she reacted to the unexpected wealth of acceptance and acclaim she achieved. A gentle smile on her face revealed her satisfaction of character and humility. And I saw for the first time the vision. At the time, I was a volunteer, teaching dance to area children with Down's.

Much later, as a Member of the Community Action Corps, State University of New York at Buffalo, I voluntered for Dance Incorporated of Erie County, New York. Here I saw the same vision and struggle for greater expectations by children under tweleve with Down's. Here and subsequent, I also made a dsicovery. There exists an unknown culture within the persona of this population.

What was significant about this discovery? It is that this population is aware of their conditon as being different and that any hint of public alienation far more impacts their psychological development when compared to their mainstream peers.

If their expectations are not met with personal success then their efforts to form an independent personality before the ages 12 to 14 is jeopardized. Additionally the impact of physical development of puberty during adolescence may turn upon them to form dangerous dependent personalities and self-destructive behaviors.

I discovered that when the child becomes a 'client', it creats a healthy liberation from the dynamics of traditional therapies. It is then that the client's physical expressions ( dance ) of their feelings can emerge. The initial recognition of the of the client's artistic 'value' gives proof of their individual importance. The more complex and abstract the dance is then the more cognitive coherence of the environment and creating further basis for improved cognitive learning skills.

The client's dance is very unique. when comparing these 'cultures' or populations an onlooker can percieve a distinct difference.
It can be likened to the following:

The present perception of dance performance
by mainstream society assumes a more
Rembrandt quality of interpolation to
music, while those with Down's assume a
Picasso interpolation.

The issues of discrimination associated with the words 'wrong behavior' and 'proper artistic responces' then dissipates within the public's perception towards the Down's population and you have liberation by artisitic performance. The action of dance performance then establishes the beginnings of personal liberation.

A brand new 'dance' is formed and along with it go economic benefits and leaderhship opportunities. Most importantly the aggressive cognitive behaviors that are achieved through internal development of an organized behavior personality creates opportunity for the Down's population to interact politically with mainstream
society. As a result society comes to equally interact with the population.

This was published in The Ithaca Child, Vol XIII, No 6, Spring 2003, and is a condense version of larger more technical article.
Ballroom Dance
Ballroom Dance
Modern / Lyrical
Irish and Israeli Folk Dance
International Folk Dance
Swing to Lindy Hop
Belly Dancing
Ithaca Dance Classes
Appendix - One.
WebSite - Index
Dance Ithaca Directory [ WebSite ]
World of Dance Visions ~ Modern and Lyrical Dancers [ WebPage ] Ballet and Modern Dance Cities [ WebPage ] Modern Dance Glossary [ WebPage ]

Sent by: Luna Negra Dancer Theater
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Chicago Critics Rave About
Luna Negra's Spring Concert

Chicago Sun-Times
Luna Negra shines with great 'Awakening'
By Hedy Weiss, Dance Critic
March 4, 2006

Consider it the birth of a choreographer. Her name is Maray Guiterrez and she is 31 years old. She began her dance career in Cuba, but several years ago settled in Chicago. And on Thursday night, as part of Luna Negra Dance Theater's program at the Dance Center of Columbia College, her piece "Eterno Despertar" ("Eternal Awakening") received its world premiere. 

It was breathtaking -- a hypnotic work for four dancers that bursts with passion, mystery and heat. It also was fervently and exquisitely performed.

It begins with the sound of the ocean -- water crashing onto a beach -- and it doesn't take all that much to imagine these waves pounding the coast of the island of Cuba. A figure dressed in a voluminous red skirt pulls another onto the stage, as if hauling a giant piece of driftwood or a nearly drowned man. Two women, also in red skirts, become part of the scene. Are they mirror images of each other? Or are they the man and woman who simultaneously want to stay and to leave? Whatever the relationship -- and at times the men dance with the men, the women with the women, the men with the women -- there is always a sense of ambivalence, longing and feverish intensity.

Read more

Chicago Tribune
Luna Negra in step with the poetry of `Eterno'
Troupe exhibits intensity, range of Latino experiences

By Lucia Mauro
March 4, 2006

Personal journeys took on stylized new life as the themes of Luna Negra Dance Theater's engagement, which runs through Sunday as part of the Dance Center of Columbia College's LatinoContempo Festival. The Chicago-based modern troupe, headed by Eduardo Vilaro, showcases a body of work that explores the far-reaching Latino experience across generations.

Despite a few rocky moments and an underlying low-ebb of energy, the performance revealed a company of skilled individual dancers capable of expressing a choreographic range rich in psychological intensity. Devoted to Cuban choreographers, the program conveyed an overarching sense of memory and longing.

Read more

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