Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 31
Finding the groove: 'Dimensions in Dance' showcases the skills of Hancock staffers, students, and guest choreographer Jesus Solorio
BY JOE PAYNE
Ballet has long been used as a means of showing love, longing, lust, and loss on stage. While the interaction of movement and story is nothing new, contemporary dance does allow for its own spin, allowing performers to depict the dilemmas of the modern dating scene.
“It’s kind of like acting except with movement,” said choreographer Jesus Solorio. “The way we express feelings with our bodies toward each other is how we are going to portray this story accurately, and that’s the only way the audience is going to understand this.”
He was talking about his work “Stay,” a dance number accompanied by—and taking its title from—a Rihanna song. Solorio choreographed the piece for Dimensions in Dance at Allan Hancock College, where he’s a guest dance instructor. The fall semester recital showcases the collective skills of the department in a variety of genres.
A native of Paso Robles, Solorio has spent a lot of time in Los Angeles choreographing, dancing, and teaching professionally. He recently moved back to the area with his wife, also a local teacher, and now he’s teaching at Hancock.
“I needed something nearby to satisfy my creative input so I applied at Hancock College and they gave me the job,” he said, adding that this is the first recital program he choreographed for the school.
“Stay,” as Solorio explained is, relates one man’s efforts to find love in his relationships with three women.
“It shows how hazardous their relationships are at once, and the women finding out that he is uncommitted because he has all these other women around,” he said.
Ballet, which classifies dance as a series of strict movements, serves as a foundational tool. But Solorio said achieving his goal requires—of course—building on that foundation. He’s looking for something more: the right groove.
“It’s more of a constant flow style, never really stopping. My choreography is much like that,” he said. “It is the flow of movement, like a paintbrush on a canvas. That’s what I try to tell my students.”
“Stay” originally had four female dancers and one male, but a knee injury forced one of the women off the floor. Fortunately, the change didn’t make a huge impact on Solorio’s piece because of his method for creating new group dance numbers. Whether the dance is for five people or 20 people, he explained, the first position comes to his mind, and he works from that beginning.
“I usually choreograph the first eight bars of the music, see the dancers do that, and then go from there,” he elaborated. “I try not to choreograph or create on my own because art is a collaboration.”
Once he has the beginning, the rest flows from that. But that’s Solorio’s emphasis: flow. Does the movement make sense? Is it natural?
“It flows from that initial idea, but also from what’s around me,” he said. “People try and create moves, which is fine, but what I do is try to mimic my surroundings like the wind. I try to mimic anything that is natural and anything that flows.”
Solorio used this technique with his Hancock students, taking them outside to dance on the grass, to feel their surrounding environment, and to gain inspiration from that. Wherever they are, that’s their canvas: the living, breathing space.
“To us—dancers and choreographers—the theater is our canvas, our open space,” he said. “We could take a park and make it into something else through dance and our bodies.”
Arts Editor Joe Payne seeks the constant flow state. Contact him at email@example.com.