Arts and Culture

After a yearlong hiatus, the Louisville contemporary dance company Moving Collective returns to the stage this November to present their annual concert, “Modern Views”—a collaboration between six local and national choreographers which features over 20 dancers, including 13 Louisville performers.

Moving Collective founder and co-producer Theresa Bautista spoke about her view of Moving Collective as a nontraditional company and how she feels that contemporary dance pieces, while sometimes abstract, offer something for every audience member.

How Moving Collective was born:

“In 2006 Art! Art! Barking Dog Dance Company (of which Bautista was a member) folded and I found myself in this position of seeing a lot of dancers come back to the area, and wanting to still perform myself. So, I created this Moving Collective concert—a community of dancers putting on concert dance because we all loved to do it. And I only ever planned on doing one concert, but here we are eight or nine seasons in. We are still going strong.

“One of the reasons I continue doing Moving Collective is that there is such a wealth of dancers in Louisville, and choreographers. It’s a way to give them an opportunity to present, and also an opportunity for the community who is interested in dance to see something different because there is not as much dance coming to Louisville as there has been in the past. We have a wonderful ballet company, but if you don’t want just ballet, you need other options.”

How Moving Collective operates as a nontraditional dance company:

“One of the things I always have to say is that we are not a dance company in the traditional sense. I label myself as the co-producer, because I am not solely an artistic director; I work independently as a choreographer. So we organize our annual concert in more of a dance festival-type setting. We invite choreographers to show their work in our annual concert. They can select dancers from the community, or they can bring dancers with them.

“Sometimes we have a similar theme in our performances, but each choreographer is in a different place in their artistic process. So for this concert there is not an overall theme. I will say that we have things ranging from dance theatre, which is more acting with movement, to dances that are strictly movement. We have a piece that is about exorcism—and then my piece is kind of a play on geometry. I am sort of looking at the different ways we look at squares, triangles and circles. I think there is something for everyone to enjoy.”

Bautista on modern dance:

“Modern dance—or contemporary dance—it’s a big, ambiguous thing. What is it? I would say that what we present comes from that traditional modern dance background from Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham, as opposed to the sort of contemporary dance that you would see on ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’ However, at the same time, we all call ourselves contemporary dancers because, while we come from that background, we aren’t necessarily dancing in that style anymore. Our techniques are more a fusion of modern, jazz and ballet.

“A lot of it can be very abstract, which can be uncomfortable for our audience who may prefer things that are more straight-forward and narrative. Some pieces are more narrative, but it’s learning to appreciate movement for what it is and the magnificent things the body can do. Also, I’d like to see our audience members use their personal life experiences to interpret the movement and pieces.”

What modern dance has to offer audience members:

“Because a lot of dance can be hard to interpret, I would say that anyone coming to see dance to look at the whole picture, and to look for several things. If there is a repeating movement or gesture, it’s probably significant to the choreographer; whether you get specifically what that means is not important, but that there is this theme throughout the piece. Then however you interpret that theme should be personal to you.

“I think people should be comfortable with how they interpret it. I think people should be comfortable saying ‘I liked it,’ or ‘I didn’t like it.’ That is OK, but being able to say why you did or didn’t like it will help give you a better understanding of the piece.”

Moving Collective presents Modern Views on Nov. 8, 2014 at the Ursuline Arts Center, 3113 Lexington Road on the Sacred Heart Schools campus. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors with ID.

Tickets can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com or at the door on the evening of the performance.