Ars Longa, Vita Brevis – Performance Review

This weekend the UNM Department of Theatre and Dance kicked off their spring season with a faculty dance concert titled “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis,” translating to art is long, life is short. The title resonated with all five performances as each group of talented dancers took us on a short journey of art through a variety of different dancing styles.

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Leaving Pusan, choreography by Dana Tai Soon Burgess, photo by Pat Berrett

The first performance tells a story through dance of a masked women, carrying a suitcase hesitant to take the leap of faith the male character is presenting to her. “Leaving Pusan” choreographed by Dana Tai Soon Burgess is about Burgess’ “grandmother Hio Voon Kang, who immigrated to America/Hawaii in 1903.”

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Leaving Pusan, choreography by Dana Tai Soon Burgess, photo by Pat Berrett

A very relatable story, politically relevant to today. As the dance progresses, we see the masked woman struggling to conform, unable to leave the masked baggage of her ancestors and known land behind.

flamenco
Çiertas Danças, choreography by Raphael Estevez and Valeriano Paños, photo by Pat Berrett

The dark mood continues but the genre changes as we enter the next performance. “Ciertas Dancas” gives audiences beautiful costumes, intricate choreography and swift, rhythmic footwork showcasing the style and history of flamenco. What makes this performance so impressive is when the music stops, it continues by the sounds of closely timed footsteps and claps made by the dancers.

the northern sky,a westward facing window, choreography by Amanda Hamp, photo by Pat Berrett
the northern sky,a westward facing window, choreography by Amanda Hamp, photo by Pat Berrett

The next group of talented dancers, demonstrate the power and beauty of the northern sky with the help of talented lighting and scenic designers. This contemporary number is lyrically choreographed to show the strength and vulnerability of finding oneself, a story left to be illustrated by the viewer.

La Serrana, choreography by Lucia Alvarez Howard, photo by Pat Berrett
La Serrana, choreography by Lucia Alvarez Howard, photo by Pat Berrett

“La Serrana” brings live music from Calvin Hazen on guitar and Eva Encinias on vocals. Incorporating live music into the performance brings the highest level of skill and adrenaline, showcasing the talented work of the musicians, dancers and choreographer. The talented woman in this performance showcase intensity, fierceness and passion as the music dynamically illustrates the beauty of Lucia Alvarez Howard’s detailed choreography.

We end with an elegantly simple performance “inspired by religious paintings and sculptures of Michelangelo. “ Choreographed to the sounds of J.S. Bach’s Cantata #78, the dancers flawlessly grace the Rodey Theatre stage ending the concert on a high note.

Ecce Etude, choreography by Danny Grossman, photo by Pat Berrett
Ecce Etude, choreography by Danny Grossman, photo by Pat Berrett


There are only 4 more performances for you to experience the exceptional talent that UNM Department of Theatre and Dance has put on display.

Performances dates and times:

  • Thursday March 2nd at 7:30pm
  • Friday March 3rd at 7:30pm
  • Saturday March 4th at 7:30pm
  • Sunday March 5th at 2:00pm

Tickets prices are $15 general, $12 for faculty and seniors and $8 for staff and students.

For more information on upcoming UNM Department of Theatre and Dance shows visit https://theatre.unm.edu/ and you can also follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UNMTheatreAndDance/

Original Publication / Feb.28.2017 / http://www.abqtodo.com/performance-review-ars-longa-vita-brevis/

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