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W&M theatre and dance presents spring 2021 virtual season

  • Omiyemi Artisia Green
    Spring virtual season:  William & Mary Associate Professor Omiyemi Artisia Green wrote and will direct "Dance of the Orcas," with choreography by Christopher Newport University Associate Professor Ann Mazzocca Bellecci, in a co-production with CNU Arts as part of the spring 2021 virtual performance season.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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William & Mary’s Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance will host a diverse array of performers for its virtual season in the spring 2021 semester. The slate of shows features appearances from department alumni, current students and co-productions with other arts organizations, celebrating and highlighting the diverse talent of the community. 

The season will feature two weekends of original variety performances with “MOSAIC” and “The Untethered: Homecoming,” two virtual dance concerts and original piece “Dance of the Orcas,” all of which will either be live-streamed or edited into films for on-demand viewing.

Francis Tanglao Aguas (Photo by Shreyas Kumar '21)Professor Francis Tanglao Aguas, the director of “The Untethered: Homecoming,” is bringing theatre and dance alumni to the digital stage with his live production. He hopes to continue the conversation around diversity in the arts by bringing voices past and present to the opening show of the season.

“‘The Untethered: Homecoming’ will hopefully provide a space for reflective nostalgia for the theatre and college community at William & Mary through song, monologues, dance and poetry that could pave the way for both healing and a sense of community,” said Tanglao Aguas. “My hope is that the current community will appreciate the experiences of these alumni that got us to where we are today because it is the present that will move the journey forward towards more diversity and inclusion on the W&M stage.”

The Untetheredis presented in conjunction with Aguas Arts Ink, a virtual performers’ collective established this summer by Tanglao Aguas, current students and alumni of W&M.

{{youtube:medium:right|YM6ZaIjx95Y, In rehearsal 2019: Dance of the Orcas}}

The dance department is also seeking to highlight a sense of community with its final two performances of the series, “Reaching Out & Leaning In.” Both performances are directed and choreographed by current students in the Orchesis Modern Dance Company, including Breanna Maldonado '21.

“I am choreographing a piece with all of the Orchesis members as dancers, about global citizenship. It will embrace how we all have a place in our individual lives and communities, but we are also all connected in a wider global community,” said Maldonado of her piece.

As the arts continue to adapt to the new reality that is virtual performance, the W&M directors are finding creative solutions to keep audiences immersed in the experience.

“Since directing for online or digital theatre, I have tried to respect the platform of Zoom or live-streaming as its own genre or platform,” said Tanglao Aguas.

Understanding the limitations and opportunities in the digital platform were key to creating the two dance productions for the spring ’21 season. But Maldonado feels that the new format can work to highlight the themes of each piece.

“A unique creative element I bring as a director is the idea of using camera angles and visuals that hopefully make the audience feel as though we are all closer and more connected than we physically are,” she said.

Both “The Untethered: Homecoming” and the “Reaching Out & Leaning In” series will be presented in a slate of five productions for the W&M spring virtual main stage season.

The spring 2021 season for the William & Mary Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance is as follows:

  • The Untethered: Homecomingfeaturing original works from Black, Indigenous and people of color students and alumni. Directed by Professor Francis Tanglao Aguas.
    • Streaming live Feb. 18-21
  • MOSAICfeaturing original works from current W&M theatre and dance students. Directed by Professor Laurie Wolf.
    • Streaming March 4-7
  • Reaching Out & Leaning In: Explorations Through Dance III
    • Streaming On-Demand March 25-28
  • “Reaching Out & Leaning In: Explorations Through Dance IV”
    • Streaming On-Demand April 15-18
  • Dance of the Orcaswritten by Associate Professor Omiyemi Artisia Green with choreography by Christopher Newport University Associate Professor Ann Mazzocca Bellecci. A co-production with CNU Arts.
    • Streaming On-Demand April 29-May 2

Each performance will be streamed online. Digital tickets will be available soon for all performances online at wm.edu/boxoffice, by phone at 757-221-2674 or in person at the Kimball Theatre, 428 Duke of Gloucester St., Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.