The Denison Department of Dance presents its spring dance concert, Moving Resiliency, in two parts.

Moving Resiliency Live Performance I

May 6th at 8:00 pm and May 8th at 6:00 and 8:00 pm

This program opens with Keep. Capture. Continue. created by Wynn Reed’s ’21 as part of her Senior Research obligation in the Department of Dance; then shares two solos, the first the Sugar Plum Fairy Variation reconstructed after Petipa, performed by Noelle Boyages, facilitated by Professor Dr. Gill Wright Miller and the second Contradictions in Grace created and performed by Sebastian Goodman ’23 as part of his Choreographic Investigations coursework. The program concludes with selves we disguised as sunlight, a septet choreographed by Assistant Professor Dr. Molly Shanahan with students from Contemporary Dance and Performance course.

Moving Resiliency Live Performance II

May 7th at 6 pm and 8 pm

This program features No Sitting on the Sidelines, work by Associate Professor Dr. Ojeya Cruz Banks with student collaborators and Creative Assistant Gaquise Jones ’21.

Gaquise Jones ‘21, or GiGi as known on campus, is a Global Commerce Major and Economics Minor from Chicago, IL, who was introduced to dance through this program, and embraced the Creative Assistant leadership role in Live Performance II with a great sense of passion. “This dance is a form of healing, a form of expression,” GiGi shared. “This isn’t to be a pretty piece, but a powerful piece. I really want people to sulk and live in moments of discomfort they may feel in this performance…moments of joy, moments of sadness, moments of happiness. I want it to feel everything. I want it to be a microcosmic representation of the real world in real life.”

Why did you choose Global Commerce and an Economics Minor?

I took a Global Commerce course my freshman year here and I just felt this new sense of drive and passion to explore it more. It was very intriguing to me because it was presented as a new major; actually, my class has been the first class year to have it available all four years. It really was something new and invigorating. Global Commerce focuses on the intersectionality of cultural and social norms and how they directly impact global economies. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I was really interested in becoming a global citizen and being able to immerse myself in different social settings. I am a proud Global Commerce Major and appreciate how this area of study has enhanced my identity and the way I approach different situations.

What is your role in this dance concert and what are your feelings on this being your final performance at Denison?

This upcoming dance concert is very unique and dear to my heart. It will be my first experience functioning as a Creative Assistant. Connecting with something I really love and with this being my final performance, it’s definitely bittersweet. If it’s one thing this school year has taught me, it is how fluid and ever-changing our lives will be. I’m proud of myself for taking advantage of this great form of self-care and I’m extremely grateful that Dr. O asked me to be a part of this project.

This experience has continued to allow me professional skills in being able to vocalize my opinion while also taking constructive criticism and feedback. I love that I’m able to do a crossover between something I’m really passionate about and really love, while at the same time making it look good and professional as one of my final senior pieces. I’m glad this has my name on it. It’s a great representation of what I feel and what I believe and what I’m about, so I’m very excited.

What is a takeaway from your time spent in Ojeya’s class and or the Dance Department?

When answering this question, it is first important to acknowledge and give merit to the fact that I am a Black woman. In our current times, it has been extremely difficult to live as a Black woman or person of color in general. I don’t like the connotation that Black women are expected to be strong because when I think of strength, it comes from a place of suffering and pain. So, instead of envisioning myself with just strength, I have chosen to also envision myself with power. Power is what moves and shapes us, and it will be power that is embodied all throughout this performance. This dance piece will definitely be a form of healing. There has been so much trauma and repression during the past year and a half with COVID, so it’s been a lot of good and bad I suppose… the level playing field with the pandemic, everyone being “equally” impacted by this global event; but there has also been a greater emphasis placed on the lack of moral and social agency to protect the marginalized groups who face the greatest oppressions.

As previously mentioned, this dance is a form of healing, a form of expression…this isn’t to be a pretty piece, but a powerful piece. I really want people to sulk and live in moments of discomfort they may feel in this performance… moments of joy, moments of sadness, moments of happiness. I want it to feel everything. When thinking of my Denison experience, I describe it as a microcosmic representation of the real world. Being a Denison tour guide requires extensive knowledge and expertise about the institution, which includes the good, the bad, the ugly, and most importantly being able to navigate regardless of which you’ll encounter. Nowhere is perfect but I feel like through dance we have a refreshing opportunity to evolve and grow. I’ve been able to heal and find a sense of solace with Dr. O. I’m glad I have been granted this amazing opportunity. Being able to be able to express myself and have a space where I feel completely safe is truly a blessing as I conclude this chapter of my life.

I’m excited and I think it’s going to be AMAZING! I appreciate the opportunity to share my story and use my voice.

Performances are open to Denison Students, Faculty and Staff in Sharon Martin Hall in the Eisner Center. Masks and social distancing guidelines will be followed and advanced tickets required.

April 27, 2021