Space—and how one adapts to a physical and cultural environment while moving through the world—is the inspiration for Once Removed, an innovative interdisciplinary performance by the Ursinus College Dance Company (UCDC) being staged this fall.
Directed and choreographed by Jeanine McCain, an assistant professor of dance, Once Removed integrates dance, theater and projection design. It premiered in New York City last June and will be recreated featuring a cast of Ursinus dance and theater students Thursday, Nov. 16 through Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Blackbox Studio Theater in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center on the Ursinus College campus.
McCain drew inspiration for the piece from her own experience moving from the Rocky Mountain region to the Philadelphia metro area and how her body felt different in the wide open spaces of Colorado compared to urban Philadelphia.
“It’s a self-preservation mechanism that we adapt our body into different spaces,” McCain says. “I couldn’t control how my body felt in these different landscapes.”
The performance space was also a conscious decision; McCain chose the Blackbox Studio Theater to provide a more intimate viewing experience for the audience.
Once Removed uses technology by incorporating the use of video stories, or “moving portraits” on handheld projectors that have the ability to be very big or very small. This visual arts section uses projection on a variety of surfaces, including the bodies of performers, to represent the moving body as a landscape. McCain says she was interested in finding a meaningful and embodied way to incorporate the technology with a live dance performance.
The theater section of the piece was developed at Ursinus with student actors and provides a foundation for the show through a collage of ideas and words that McCain hopes will provide a visceral response from audience members.
Performers include James Daring ’18, who was a part of the Once Removed New York City performance. Ursinus graduates La’Shante Cox ’16 and Rosie Davis-Aubrey ’15, also part of the New York performance, will appear in videos featured during the UCDC performance.
Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for seniors and students. They can be purchased online at ursinus.edu/tickets and will be available for cash only at the box office before the show. For inquiries, please contact [email protected] or 610-409-3030.