Scripps Dances Highlight Creativity, Collaboration

Last Saturday, Apr. 16, Scripps Dances, an annual concert showcasing talented dancers from across the 5Cs, was held at Garrison Theater.

Both faculty and students created original works to be performed in Scripps Dances. Suchi Branfman, one of the choreographers, presented a particularly evocative piece titled “Point by Point—ROOTED AMERICA.” Branfman has choreographed and performed around the world from Nicaragua to New York City. She is currently a faculty member at Scripps College and is the former chair of the City of Santa Monica Arts Commission.

The work the Branfman set for Scripps Dances was part of a project she undertook last summer. “ROOTED AMERICA” involved a seven-week mobile residency during which Branfman and printmaker Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo travelled to communities across the United States to explore and honor why, where, and how artists work and influence society. “Point by Point” was a reflection upon this experience, and its creation was a collaboration between Branfman, her dancers, and the communities she interacted with throughout the project.

Other faculty choreographers included Ronnie Brosterman, nationally recognized choreographer and chair of the Scripps College Dance Department, and Kevin Williamson, who joined the department as an assistant professor this year.

Five students, all of who have been deeply involved in the Claremont Colleges dance departments, also choreographed individual works for the show.

Callie Walsh SC ’19, a dancer in Maya Suzuki-Jones’ SC ’16 piece, described her experience working with a student choreographer.

“Maya was such a leader and really helped us understand her intention for the piece,” she said. “Each rehearsal, we were asked to dig deeper and explore the idea of authenticity. The piece was very personal to all of us, as we had each been through experiences during which we questioned who we are and what our authentic self truly is.”

Scripps Dances incorporated a variety of styles and was driven by the deliberate intentions of each choreographer.

“I thought that it was really thought-provoking and explorative,” Lulu Nye SC ‘19 said. The work of dedicated dancers and the passion of choreographers was evident in the captivating and professional performance quality. “The dancers were very talented and there wasn't really a moment when I dropped out because of a mistake or a bad music choice because the dancers were engaged; I was engaged,” said Nye.

The skill and dedication of everyone involved were evident.

“There was a lot of intention behind each work. You could see in the dancers bodies and expressions the confidence and clear intensions being expressed. The maturity of the dancers and choreographers was very impressive,” Walsh said.

Ultimately, Scripps Dances showcased not only the athleticism and artistry of the dancers, but also the critical reflection and inspiration that came from their collaboration with equally talented choreographers.

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