To say that this is a year of transitions may be an understatement. With a world awash in the transitions of office to home, school to Zoom, new social norms and uncertainty building like storm clouds on the collective horizon, it’s apt — and a bit serendipitous — that the directors of the Telluride Dance Collective (TDC) had already chosen the title “Transitions” for this year’s annual show.
“As 2020 has unfolded, we found this theme to be more fitting than we could have imagined, as we are currently witnessing humanity go through major transitions,” said Kelsey Trottier, TDC codirector.
The fourth annual Mass Movement will feature a multimedia melange of live dance performance, spoken word and film shorts artfully blended into a seamless narrative in motion to explore concepts such as transition, resistance, body, perception and transformation. Performances run Sept. 17-19, with doors opening at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. show at the Transfer Warehouse. Tickets can be purchased on a sliding scale from $15 to $100. Seating in “pods” of up to six people can be reserved and will be spaced at a six-foot distance from other parties.
Ticket sales from the show provide a conjoined fundraiser for the dance collective, Telluride Arts District and Palm Arts. While close-quarters dancing, like many everyday activities, has had to evolve to meet the safety protocols required by the COVID-19 pandemic, TDC and Mass Movement codirectors Trottier and Stephanie Osan simply got creative to provide safe opportunities to continue dancing.
“We have been incorporating more filmwork this year as a way of continuing to keep more people involved in a safe way,” said Trottier. “The dance filmwork will continue to be a way for us to have more opportunities for dancers and choreographers to feature their work, and also for dance to be more accessible to a wider audience as we plan on eventually releasing our series of short dance films online for anyone to see,” she said, noting that this year’s Mass Movement will premiere films from the ongoing series.
While the show has shifted this year to accommodate for both fewer dancers onstage as well as fewer audience members, the power of dance to serve as an emotional outlet and a healing force for both dancers and spectators remains an integral part of the directors’ ethos.
“Dance has always been a healing practice,” Osan said. “Dance gives us the space to embody our emotions, to process what is coming up for us, and release any heaviness that we may be feeling. Dance shifts our perceptions, both as a performer and as an observer.”
The experience of participating in or attending a dance performance also strengthens the fabric of community, providing a much-needed sense of unity and shared creativity.
“Dance builds community, which is really needed at a time where many of us are feeling more distant and isolated than ever before,” Trottier said. “Even if you are an audience member and not physically dancing with us, you are a part of this community, and you are participating in the collective human experience.”
This year seemingly more than ever the collective human experience has elevated challenging — and often divisive — questions regarding the responsibility of the individual to the collective and vice versa, forcing each person to grapple with personal choice and expression on a level not previously recognized. “Transitions” invites the audience into a world of dance in which the artists grapple with the essence of the human experience, using the power of kinetic energy to both ask and answer existential questions in a wordless ode to the transformative power of physical expression.
“Through our creative practice, we are trying to understand what it means to be a human on this planet right now,” Osan said. “In many ways, the concepts and themes that have emerged from creating and curating this show has been our way of processing the times we are living in.”
Attendees are asked to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to showtime to be checked in and ushered to their seats, and to follow San Miguel County’s COVID-19 guidelines both during and prior to the show. For tickets or more information, visit telluridearts.org.