Christopher Steven Quiocho and Jackie Ni'i
perform in "A Soul Vision," choreographed by Traci Lynn
A return to dancing
UH-Manoa dance student Traci Lynn Chun
goes back to the ensemble
for "Footholds III"
Dance mirrors life for University
of Hawaii-Manoa dance student Traci Lynn Chun. Last month, she made her
debut as a choreographer with "A Soul Vision," a representation of "a
lot of things that were going on in my personal life" that was presented
as part of "Footholds II: Young Choreographers on Stage." Tomorrow
night, she will step back in the ensemble to help present fellow student
Jennifer Butler's choreography in "Footholds III: Fly High Fall
"Footholds III: Fly High Fall
Silently"Where: Ernst Lab Theatre,
University of Hawaii at Manoa
When: 8 p.m. tomorrow through Saturday and 2
Tickets: $9 general; $7 non-UHM students,
seniors, military and UH faculty and staff; $3 UHM
students with valid spring 2003 ID -- available at the
theater one hour prior to show time
"I feel really confident being on the stage, moving my body and doing
whatever it is I feel, but putting myself on the other side of the stage
(and choreographing other people) was a totally new experience for me,"
Chun said backstage at Kennedy Theatre recently.
Chun started work on "A Soul Vision" in August for presentation in
April -- a much longer gestation period, she said, than the "normal,
two-month choreography" process. Although she was developing the
movements to reflect deeply personal experiences, she wanted the
finished piece to be broader in terms of visual presentation. Chun
sought out student dancers with different backgrounds -- a male, a
"Japanese local from Hawaii" and a Caucasian and two Asians from the
mainland. Valerie Gee, from San Francisco, had ballet training but was
new to modern dance. Dancer-actress Helen Lee, born and raised in
Chicago, had impressive credits locally as an actress and for her work
incorporating dancers in nonmusical theater. Lee became Chun's
unofficial mentor for the project.
"It was a really different experience for me because I've never
really worked with people from different parts of the country, but I
wanted dancers from different backgrounds, different styles and
experiences, not just the (local) Asian. With the help of Helen, I saw
that (my piece) was really memory clippings from my past and everybody's
past coming together to create a broad range of vision."
The biggest challenge she found was explaining what she had
in mind and how she wanted to use it as the basis for the dancers'
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII|
shown above left, with the dancers Nii, Quiocho and Valerie
Gee and in the back row, Helen Lee and Janie Ewing. All
performed with Chun last month at Spring Footholds.
"I had choreographed a couple of pieces before but never to this
extent, to where it was a group of dancers that I wanted to take deeper
(than basic stage direction). Most of the time, I'm not a verbal person
-- when I go on stage it's, 'OK, this is what I have to show to the
world,' but how do I show people what I want them to know without
actually doing it? I didn't want them to be a cookie-cutter image of me
and my style, but for them to take it and give their own
Chun says that she found it helped her to be involved in two other
projects as the debut date of her own big piece was approaching -- she
was preparing for a program at Marks Garage in addition to rehearsing
for "Footholds III." She adds that Lee helped keep her grounded and
avoid excessive second-guessing as the piece came together.
"Helen has been an instrumental part of me realizing that what I
created is something to be proud of. It's my words, my dance, my
movement, but is also captures the (other) dancers' pasts and their
personal experiences. All of us came together as a group to say
something from me and not just put pretty pictures on stage."
The 21-year-old Chun plans to take at least a year off after she
graduates in August. When she continues her formal education, she hopes
to find a school where she can both continue her dance studies and also
study landscape architecture or interior design.
Besides the potential financial advantages in preparing for other
careers, Chun says there's an artistic connection between the two.
"They're all about shapes and lines."
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