During the 2019 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival, Geva is proud to present eleven incredible shows in our Fielding Stage. We’ve invited them to share a few words about their work with you. 

The work in Merged VII by co-producers and choreographers James Hansen and Heather Roffe blends physically exciting dance and theatricality to produce a concert that is simultaneously thought-provoking to seasoned dance viewers and accessible to first-time audience members. The cutting-edge choreography will be performed by Rochester’s most celebrated dancers and new guest artists, including: Heather Roffe, Adam Kittelberger, Devon Monin, Stevie Oakes, Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, Hettie Barnhill, and Alex Alletto…plus more!

 The company has been hard at work on this show, creating and rehearsing all summer long. A new 5-section work by Roffe will be unveiled, and a new piece by Hansen, as well as a Dance film by Hansen, and a collaboration/montage with Roffe and filmmaker Johannes Buckwoldt based on the idea of “alternative facts” –  (plus we included a couple oldies but goodies that are past audience faves!)

Audience members sometimes ask: “How do I look at dance that isn’t telling a story, or built off a narrative?”  These observation “muscles” aren’t as well-developed, since we are not exposed to Dance as much as we are to other forms of art, like visual art and music. Well, here’s a few tips for entering the world of (often abstract) Modern dance:

  • Don’t worry about “what it’s about” – often audiences get so wrapped up in figuring out what the choreographer is trying to communicate, they can’t enjoy the art that is being presented to them….Just observe, pay attention to what’s transpiring on the stage, and develop your own ideas or themes of what you’re seeing…. that’s OK!
  • Notice the details – choreographers spend a lot of time finessing the turn of a hand for a visual effect, or selecting the costumes to convey a certain context, or creating the title to give the audience an entry into the performance. Follow these clues to make your own meaning! (Also sometimes there are program notes, so check for these literal roadmaps!)
  • Talk to others about what you saw – What details, nuances, and relationships did you notice? Did it conjure up some visual memory or idea for you? How did the piece make you feel? Follow your intuition, interpret the clues the choreographer and dancers have provided, and trust your own intellect…Then, comparing notes with others offer you even more insight into various perspectives on the work. Even better, after the show, talk to the dancers and choreographers themselves!

Heather Roffe has had her work performed nationally and internationally, most recently in the UK, Caribbean, and NYC, and has danced with Garth Fagan Dance Company, FuturPointe Dance, and with Bill Evans Dance. Roffe has been described as “One of the most dramatic and exciting dancers in our region.” (Democrat and Chronicle), “Cutting Edge” (City Newspaper) and “Striking” (npr.org). Currently, she is an Associate Professor and directs the Dance Program at Nazareth College.

James Hansen had a 15-year career in NYC dancing with the Eglevsky Ballet and Sean Curran Dance Company.  His choreography has received rave reviews across the country including “A wonderful example of how much the human body can communicate.” (Backstage NY), “A thoughtful meditation on group dynamics.” (NY Times) “Breathtaking” (Richmond Times Dispatch) and “mesmerizing” (Norfolk’s Portfolio Weekly).  He has been produced by some of the most prestigious dance festivals including 2 years at Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival. Additionally, he is a Professor and Director of the undergraduate program in Dance at The College at Brockport.

Merged VII performs at Geva Theatre Center’s Fielding Stage on 9/11 @ 8:30pm, 9/17 @ 8:30pm, 9/19 @ 7:30pm, and 9/21 @ 5pm.
Click here to purchase tickets!

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