Replacing tweets and posts with tutus and pivots

by Lenise Willis

In today’s world there are so many ways to communicate:

Smartphones, online messaging, Facebook, Twitter, even those old-fashioned landlines. But dating back even farther than dial-up is the language of dance.

Bringing a fresh perspective on the communicative and expressive qualities of dance is UNC School of the Arts, which is presenting a world premiere of local choreography.

“The Fall Dance Concert as a whole showcases our wonderfully talented students in four very different choreographic aesthetics,” says Brenda Daniels, artistic director and one of the participating choreographers. “The 90-minute concert has kinetic thrills, humorous moments, musical sophistication and extreme beauty.”

“I hope the audience will take away a renewed sense of the beauty of the human body in motion and discover how varied, expressive, exciting and fun dance can be,” Daniels continues.

Included in the program are four original works by School of Dance faculty and alum, as well as professional choreographer Larry Keigwin, founder of the New York-based dance company Keigwin + Company.

One of the pieces, The Palpable Space in Between by UNCSA alum Kimberly Bartosik, explores the concept of time and the intertwining of hatred and love.

“There are images of the sometimes-gentle, sometimes-violent persistence of time moving, of time passing, of co-existing senses of past and present, of ways people love and hurt each other, of the palpable space in between these phenomena,” Bartosik says.

A collaborative production, Daniels’ piece, What Happened, is set to the music of School of Music composer-in-residence Lawrence Dillon, who just won a NC Arts Council Fellowship.

The dance closely follows the structure of the music, which has three sections: Gathering, Congregation and Scattering. “For me, music is the blueprint that the dance follows,” Daniels says. “An overarching theme of the piece is the brevity and sweetness of life.”

In contrast, Bartosik says this is the first time she’s choreographed a dance with music. “During the process of creating The Palpable Space in Between I began creating material and then, about midway through, I started to bring in sounds to experiment with,” Bartosik says. “It took a while before I found the sounds and music that brought to life the ideas I felt were being revealed through the movement.”

Bartosik says when she first came to the School of Arts she planned to explore ideas about violence particular to American culture — a theme she’s been researching in her professional work in New York City. However, after arriving in Winston-Salem her vision morphed.

“When I arrived and saw how young these dancers are — and their beautiful mix of youth, innocence and burgeoning maturity — I responded to that and explored my complicated ideas in subtler, simpler ways to create a work that feels like a conversation between their more protected worlds and the realities of the world outside the conservatory.”

Bartosik says her piece expresses beauty, but the beauty keeps getting swept away and replaced.

“I sense the emotions created by things disappearing while new things are being revealed,” she says about what her pieces means to her. “But honestly, the emotion my piece portrays will be determined only by the audience. They will tell me what they see and what they feel.”

“I hope they will be engaged enough in the performance that they will have their own ways of understanding my work,” Bartosik adds. “I want them to both feel and think. My hope is that they see a reflection of the world, its beauty and pain.”

The other dance pieces in the performance include Seven by Larry Keigwin and Lotto, a piece by School of the Arts faculty member Ming-Lung Yang derived in response to the form and meaning of numbers.


UNC School of the Arts performs its Fall Dance Concert at Agnes de Mille Theatre, located at 1533 S. Main St. in Winston-Salem, Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with a special 2 p.m. performance on Saturday. For tickets or more information visit or call 336.721.1945