Harn Museum of Dance (HMoD): Be There. Be Moved
HMoD 2.0 rocks the Harn Museum of Art on Saturday, March 18, 2017, from 1:00-4:00 pm (FREE)
"It was possibly the most spectacular dance performance Gainesville has ever experienced. I am so grateful for it. The work of all those amazing artists expanded us and it felt wonderful!" — Melissa Montilla, Sanctuary Yoga, Gainesville, FL
In summer 2015, I approached Eric Segal, the Harn's curator of education with a crazy idea. "Hey! Let's transform the Harn Museum of Art into the 'Harn Museum of Dance'"! And with the blessing of the Harn's forward-thinking director, Dr. Rebecca Nagy, the HMoD adventure began. The Harn's awesome education team—Eric Segal and Elizabeth King—our Center for World Arts/ Harn Choreographer-in-Residence, Ashley LeBlanc (BFA Dance 2016), knew that I sought to create a multidimensional experience in a single afternoon. I wanted to physically awaken visitors' experience of visual art and invigorate dancers' experience of presence and performance. An immersive dance-visual art experience, HMoD 1.0, confirmed that artists and audiences LOVE the breath and sinew of LIVE art. Now, HMoD 2.0 will do it again!
HMoD celebrates the innovation, diversity, and risk-taking that defines the dance major of the UF School of Theatre and Dance. Our 80 dance BFA and BA dance majors and 30 additional UF students studying dance, present performance installations, hip-hop, West African, modern, Afro-Brazilian, mindful movement, theater and dance improvisation. HMoD's slogan, "Be there. Be moved" makes explicit our intended emotional and physical impact. As we play with concepts of "LIVENESS," "presence," contagion, choice-making, self-movement, HMoD visitors are immersed in successive moments of wonder, beauty, and surprise. Social media engages audiences in Real Time on FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter. Two discussion events contemplate the power of performance. (HMoD 1.0 also featured films created by our emerging dancer/filmmakers, including "Still Light," by Andrea Ward, BFA 2017, an official selection of Dance on Camera, Lincoln Center, February 2016; and the award-winning dance photography of Jordan Albright, BA Dance/BA Journalism 2015.)
On March 19, 2016, close to 1000 people, made up of 857 visitors, and 75 dance majors supported by 30 additional dance students, generated HMoD 's new perspectives on art and performance. On March 18, 2017, HMoD 2.0 will again move students and guest artists, and, most importantly, the wonderful visitors to the Harn who dare to "be there and be moved.".
Over years, the CWA has delighted in collaborations with the Harn, including the Center for World Arts/Harn Choreographer-in-Residence program, Museum Nights' performances, and symposia discussing dance and featuring interactive performance such as Tango, Contact and Communication (2014). I recall when contemporary choreographer Béatrice Kombé (Cote d'Ivoire) blessed the Harn Galleria with performances in February 2004: her performance marked the very first time I was able to convince the Harn that dance "belonged" in the museum (and that the dancer is the first artist who is fully aware of space and would not break everything in sight!). I have educated scores of young choreographers there in the ensuing years, incorporating performance and choreographic pedagogy into the museum setting, including scoring compositional work specifically related to exhibits. I have special memories of the Harn in October 2013, when the magnificent CWA artist in residence Gina Yang (China) performed; and January 2016, when the extraordinary Marisol Salinas (El Salvador/Paraguay) graced the Galleria, once again.
What can I say? The Harn inspires! THANK YOU, WONDERFUL HARN MUSEUM OF ART (AND DANCE)!!!
Director, Center for World Arts; Curator, Harn Museum of Dance