“I think that would be a good place for her—play that again Jennifer (trill sound). You’re going to listen for that,” she advises. Dance students work with musicians from the AURA Contemporary Ensemble. It is a valuable collaboration that results in a richer art.
“We steal structures from music already to create dances so, personally, as an artist, I have a deeper understanding of what I’m doing when I understand the music,” she says. The UH Dance Ensemble is the university’s pre-professional performing dance company. Formed in 1992, the Dance Ensemble offers students the opportunity to practice performance skills, challenging them technically and physically.
Rob Smith directs the Ensemble, which is dedicated to the performance of contemporary chamber music with an emphasis on works that represent the trends and styles of the last two decades. The ensemble is dedicated to collaboration with dance, and has presented many concerts with the UH Dance Ensemble and the Sandra Organ Dance Company.
“You understand your art much better by having to collaborate with someone else because the issues are the same, whether it’s music or dance it’s expression,” he says. “We have this Mitchell Center for the Arts, so it has really encouraged all of us to interact with each other and the students coming here do know that.”
There are adjustments for a dancer and a musician playing together, an added awareness of time and place that results in a richer experience for both.
“It’s a terrific way of having the art, Smith says. “It magnifies it at all levels. It’s great.”
Music and motion are part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.
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