EVENT UPDATE: TCC Dance Faculty and Guest Artists to Perform in Sundance Square

EVENT UPDATE: DUE TO ANTICIPATED INCLEMENT WEATHER, THE SUNDAY PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED UNTIL MAY 14. MORE DETAILS WILL BE AVAILABLE CLOSER TO THE DATE.
 
FORT WORTH, Texas (March 29, 2017) – Dance faculty and alumni from across the Tarrant County College District will team with guest artists for a special performance in Downtown Fort Worth’s Sundance Square. The “Merge” concert will be held Sunday, April 2, at 2 p.m., on the Plaza Stage at Main Street and 4th Street.
 
The performance will include choreography in the styles of modern and post-modern dance, modern hip-hop fusion, contemporary ballet and ballet folklorico. The performance will feature faculty members Kiera Amison, Claire Augstine, Brandy Niccolai-Belfi, Lacreacia Sanders and Amy L. Jennings. Guest artists include Ballet Folklorico Azteca, Collective Force Dance Company, Ephiphany DanceArts, imPULSE Dance Project, Jordan Fuchs Company: Group Action and Muscle Memory Dance Theatre.
 
“TCC is a vibrant aspect of Fort Worth culture, and we are excited to perform in the heart of downtown,” said Jennings, associate professor of dance at Northwest Campus. “Sundance Square gives us a great platform to share the talents of our faculty, students and partners in the dance community.”
 
This is the Merge concert’s 10th season and second season to take place in Sundance Square. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jennings at amy.jennings@tccd.edu or 817-515-7174.
 

TCC Announces Spring Fine Arts Events

Tarrant County College campuses are offering a number of dance, drama and musical events this spring.
 
“The Good Woman of Szechwan” runs Feb. 21-23 at Theatre Northwest, located at the Northwest Campus, 4801 Marine Creek Parkway. The drama, which focuses on the struggle to live a moral life in a society corrupted by greed and selfishness, also will be performed at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Shreveport, La., on Feb. 26. Selected from approximately 40 college and university submissions, the TCC Northwest Theatre department will be the only two-year college to perform during the festival.
 
On Feb. 26, the Brock McGuire Band will perform in the Student Center at the Northeast Campus, 828 W. Harwood Road, Hurst. At 4:30 p.m., the band will lead a music appreciation session, with a concert to follow at 7:30 p.m. The band’s repertoire emphasizes mostly Irish music but also includes arrangements of American Old-Time, Bluegrass, French-Canadian and other Celtic traditions.
 
The South Campus performance of “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” a play based on the diaries and emails of a college student and member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) will be performed on Feb. 20-22 at the Joe B. Rushing Center for the Performing Arts, located at 5301 Campus Drive. Corrie traveled the Gaza Strip during the Second Intifada. She was killed while acting as a human shield, protesting the destruction of a house by Israel Defense Forces.
 
Four new, award-winning scripts, written by Southeast Campus students, will be brought to life at the C.E. Roberson Theatre, 2100 Southeast Parkway, Arlington, Feb. 19–22. The Achieving the Dream through the Arts Festival of New Plays includes: “The Walks of Life and Those Who Inhabit It,” “Living the Dream,” “So Famous (Sofa Love)” and “Winter’s Plea.”
 
In March, a celebration of TCC Northwest Dance Program’s 15th anniversary will be recognized through “In Retrospect 15.” The Northwest Dance Company, Mosaic Dance Project and 30 TCC alumni will perform March 28-29 at the Scott Theater/Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 1300 Gendy Street.
 
Fine Arts Events at TCC – Spring 2014

Suffering for your Art: Dancers Perform through the Pain

3 dancers leap in the air

Melissa Hudgins, Ranille Drummond and Katie Nichol sync up in mid-air. Plenty of repetition goes into capturing a dancing action shot like this one.

Vincent van Gogh lost an ear. Edgar Allen Poe died penniless. And Charlie Sheen has to endure being Charlie Sheen. Suffering for your art might seem like a cliché, but I saw it firsthand at a recent photo shoot for TCC’s touring dance company the Mosaic Dance Project.

The concept was simple enough. An impromptu photo set was constructed in the theater on the Northwest Campus, and members of the Mosaic Dance Project merely had to pose for some shots depicting some of their performances. But “pose” is a tremendous understatement. In order to capture the energy of the dances, these photos had to be action shots.

Capturing the Perfect Moment

After watching some of the dancers spin around until they were dizzy, or leap into the air multiple times until the perfect moment was captured by the camera shutter, I began to realize that a lot of effort goes into that fraction of a second, especially when a group of dancers has to be in the air at precisely the same time.

dancer mid-air

Click image to view video.

 

Photographer Randal Vanderveer said these are the principle challenges of this type of photography — filling the frame, capturing the action at its apex and making sure everyone is in sync. Imagine trying to take a picture of your relatives at a family reunion — trying to get everyone smiling in the same instant, or taking multiple shots because a different cousin blinks each time. Multiply that by about a million, and you’re somewhere in the ballpark of how difficult it is to photograph a dance troupe in action.

Bumps and Bruises

However, this troupe is comprised of real troupers, and they happily obliged each time they were asked for another vertical leap worthy of an NBA slam-dunk contest, or to fall on the floor so that the moment before impact could be captured. During a group shot, dance student Andrew Gern was accidentally hit in the jaw by a fellow student. Usually a minor inconvenience, the pain was intensified by the fact that Andrew happened to have an abscessed tooth right where the blow landed. No problem. He told me he used the pain to help him focus during shots of a solo performance that required him to emote some serious intensity.

A few minutes later, he was lifting fellow dancer Tyler Clark above his head for another series of photos. This photo was complicated by the fact that Tyler had some pulled muscles around her ribs from a previous performance, and she needed to be lifted right at her rib cage. But the show must go on. I asked Tyler how she fought through it, and she laughed and replied, “Suck it up. Rub some dirt into it.”

Dancer Mariah Jackson photographed in mid-air.

It’s not the jump; it’s the landing. Mariah Jackson makes it look easy, but many dancers suffer bumps, bruises and worse to bring us these moments.

For Love of the Art

I caught up with Katie Nichol, who was icing down her knee in between shots. She had injured it just a few days before this photo shoot, but she was determined to give her all.

For her, it’s worth it to connect with her audience. “I love performing,” she said. “That’s a lot of the reason why I do it. It’s a lot of fun. You really get the feedback from the audience that makes you want to do it even more.”

During another group shot, Brianna Johnson had to dash off and dab some blood from her knee when she re-opened a healing wound. She told me that these types of injuries are so common for dancers, they even have a name. They’re called “Marley Burns,” after the type of flooring that’s common in dance studios and performance halls.

Crunch Time

Lauren Davis has been dancing on an ankle with a stress fracture for the last two weeks. “I’m not supposed to be dancing on it,” she said. “But October is our crunch time… so there wasn’t any really any hope for me resting on it.” She said dealing with aches and pains is a normal part of a dancer’s life. “Cry for, like, maybe five minutes; then run back onstage and you’re good.”

Any good dancer makes it all look effortless, but the next time you’re taking in a beautiful dance performance, you might consider the price paid by those who love to bring it to you. Keep an eye on the TCC Events Calendar for the next time you can reap the benefits of the Mosaic Dance Project’s pain. You can also enjoy it right now by checking out the video of their photo shoot above.