The top choreographers and dancers in California State University, Northridge’s kinesiology department are showcasing their talents virtually this year.
The undergraduate CSUN students have taken on the challenge to present work that speaks to this isolating time caused by the pandemic in their annual spring dance concert “Kinesis.” The pandemic made the logistics of presenting the dance concert to a live audience impractical, so Kinesis is being showcased online this year via YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA7pEocdAqI&t=337s.
“Dance exists as a performing art and dancers desire to share their art with others. It is a communal form of expression. Giving up during the pandemic and not providing a vehicle for expression was never an option in my mind. Dance at CSUN also reveals the tenacity and resilience of our faculty and students. Luckily, the CSUNdancekin Youtube is a vehicle to share our work during COVID 19”, said professor Paula Thomson, who teaches dance in the College of Health and Human Development.
Thomson said having to create something so raw and emotional without the benefit of a face-to-face connection before filming makes the task all the more difficult.
“To feel like you are in a tiny space choreographing and learning routines and then having to bring that onto a professional stage with little to no preparation time is an exceptionally hard thing to do,” Thomson said.
Despite the challenges presented by the social distancing requirements of the pandemic, Thomson said the student choreographers and dancers were up to the challenge.
“We want our students to choreograph what’s in their heart and say what they need to say by finding the movements that express those emotions,” she said, adding that Kinesis presented a way for the students to express the impact the pandemic had on them through dance.
CSUN’s main stage of Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya) served as the venue for the “Kinesis” showcase. Thomson worked with professional consultant Maurice Godin, and lighting designer and technician, Heather Romanowski, and the rest of the Soraya team to ensure that work of the dancers and choreographers was presented at its best.
Thomson noted that all students and staff involved followed strict guidelines regarding social distancing when necessary, being tested for COVID-19, and wearing masks at all times.