Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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SDSU dance students collaborated with choreographers from the Tijuana-based Lux Boreal Dance Company. (Photo: Ken Jacques) SDSU dance students collaborated with choreographers from the Tijuana-based Lux Boreal Dance Company. (Photo: Ken Jacques)
 


SDSU Dance Collaborates Across Borders

SDSU partners with the Tijuana-based Lux Boreal Dance Company in a binational exchange.
By Graciella Regua
 

Dance students in San Diego State University’s School of Music and Dance will present the results of a unique, cross-border partnership this week after collaborating with choreographers from Lux Boreal Dance Company since the fall 2016 semester.

Lux Boreal was founded in 2002 by Ángel Arámbula and Henry Torres while they attended school in Mexico. What originally started as a project between the two dancers became the basis for their company. Lux Boreal has since expanded and now includes 10 members and countless contributors. They travel and collaborate with other dancers as part of a binational artistic movement, strengthening ties between creative communities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ties to SDSU

Lux Boreal’s connection to SDSU dates back to professor emeritus George Willis’ time as the director of the SDSU dance department in the early 2000s. Willis expressed interest in having SDSU dancers collaborate with the binational dance movement in Tijuana.

Years later, Lux Boreal members performed and toured across California and Baja California with SDSU faculty members Joe Alter and Jess Humphrey.

“We did a lot of shows together and got to know them as choreographers, and later as professors,” Torres said. “They’ve even come and taught classes in Tijuana with us, so this relationship has been coming together for a long time.”

Binational movement on campus

Matthew Armstrong, a Lux Boreal choreographer and dancer, teaches movement, technique, and contemporary classes. Armstrong has relished the opportunity to redefine dance styles with SDSU students.

“The idea of contemporary dance in Mexico right now is very different from contemporary dance in San Diego,” Armstrong said. “In San Diego, there’s a lot of ‘virtuous’ dancing with an emphasis on lines and the beauty of it, whereas in Tijuana the focus right now is on raw emotion."

Armstrong is also impressed with the willingness of SDSU students to learn unfamiliar styles of dance.

“It’s really nice to come into a group of students who have a technical background and are open to the idea of inviting something new into their bodies and what they think of contemporary dance,” he said. “Overall that is really going to help them in the future in terms of versatility and adaption.”

Leslie Seiters, professor of dance in SDSU’s School of Music and Dance, believes students have learned more than just movement from the Lux Boreal choreographers.

“Lux Boreal is an inspiring example for the students because they are both an art and a work family,” Seiters said. “The warmth and gratitude that accompanies their professional rigor is palpable for students.”

University Dance Company

SDSU’s University Dance Company will perform its collaborative piece, along with faculty works directed by Alter and Humphrey. The performances are at 7:30 p.m. on March 17 and 18, and at 2 p.m. on March 19 in the Dance Studio Theatre (ENS 200). Performers will showcase three distinct dances exploring concepts and principles from physics, body memory and several versions of the song and story behind the song, "Hey Jude" by The Beatles. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for seniors, active military and SDSU affiliates and $10 for college students. Tickets can be purchased on the SDSU School of Music and Dance events website.