W&L Repertory Dance Company streams “Dancing with the Camera”

Virginia Laurie

Under visiting artistic director ShaLeigh Comerford, The W&L Repertory Dance Company performed and filmed its second performance of the year, which was streamed virtually from March 25 to March 28. 

The theme and title of the concert was “Dancing with the Camera” for the necessary artistic adaptations artists had to make to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. 

“[The pandemic] has garnered a stronger willingness to take creative risks. These risks have become a part of the work itself through theme, subject matter and approach,” Comerford said. 

The concert featured eight original works of choreography from guest artists and students alike. 

Comerford’s work, 1,000 Ways, explored the effect of socializing through different mediums like a computer screen. 

“How do we turn inwards towards the embodied state that live performance gives us? The work urges us to consider the physical world as well as our mind and spirit through the passion to move and be moved,” she said. 

Emily Matthews, ‘22, a member of the company said working with Comerford was a beneficial experience. 

“She’s introduced us to so many elements of the creative process beyond just dance like learning how to perform choreography as individuals, not just dancers dancing, learning how to make choreography our own,” Matthews said.

Another highlight was the piece Sentinel, choreographed by guest choreographer and alumnus, Elliot Reza Emadian ‘17.

The piece was filmed entirely on phone cameras in Miami and Lexington, while being directed from Illinois.

“Sentinel draws on the uniquenesses of each collaborator to highlight questions

around identity, connection and gaze,” Emadian said. “Collagic editing techniques blur the distance between the watchers and the watched, between us and them.”

Matthews echoed the initiative to use editing in creative ways and embrace the changes brought about by performing in a pandemic. 

“We really leaned into the challenge and figured out a way to use editing styles and different outdoor spaces as creative tools and a means to create art, not just an unfortunate circumstance.”