UMBC’s Ann Sofie Clemmensen explores The Kennedy Center’s REACH through choreography

Published: Oct 17, 2019

By: Tom Moore

On October 18 and 19, choreography by Ann Sofie Clemmensen, assistant professor of dance, will be presented at the new REACH expansion of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Featuring 20 dancers, Clemmensen’s three-part experience — In To and Out Of — transports audiences through different spaces of the REACH using the unique characteristics of each location to explore concepts in pattern and timing, light and dark, and limitation and transformation. The work was commissioned by the Kennedy Center as part of the 2019 Local Dance Commissioning Project.

In To and Out Of is a three-part site-inspired performance that examines the physical and invisible qualities of a place,” explains Clemmensen. “All three works seek to embody the REACH building’s inquisitive nature traceable in the texture of the walls, the array of light diffusion and breathtaking verticality.”

In the second part of the work, for example, two dancers — Linehan Artist Scholars Deven Fuller and Emily Godfrey — perform against a long narrow wall, often leaning or pressing on its surface. “The flow of people moving in and through a space doesn’t happen in isolation,” says Clemmensen. “The spaces around us have an impact on how we move around.”

Linehan Artist Scholars Deven Fuller and Emily Godfrey rehearse In To and Out Of

Part One of the work, Welcome Pavilion, features eight dancers. “The group work draws abstractly from the physical site and its function, engaging with direct and indirect patterns through gestural movements amplified using group unison and prolong time sensibility,” offers Clemmensen. She adds that “traditional meets contemporary in the use of voluminous tulle skirts — a playful reference to the artistic breath of the Kennedy Center.”

Part Two, Peace Corps Gallery, “is a duet exploring the notion of space-between-space; literally the space between wall and body as well as the space share and created by two moving bodies.” Part Three, Sky Pavilion, featuring five professional dancers from the Washington, D.C. area, explores a long panoramic window and a gravity-defying tall curved wall.

Other UMBC colleagues are involved in the performances. In addition to Fuller and Godfrey, In To and Out Of features students Jody Cole, Joshua Gray, Sylvia Lagas, Kayla Massey, Kasey Mannion, Jahnaye Samuel, Michelle Ye, Gretta Zinski, and Katie Blake.

Timothy Nohe, director of the Center for Innovation, Research and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA), created music for the first section of the dance, making “acoustic choices in the score that complement the unique architecture and reverberant signature of the REACH.” Nohe explains, “The score will be reproduced on wireless Bluetooth speakers, adding an element of mobility that responds to the movement of the dancers.”

Admission to the performances is free. Information is available on the performance pages for October 18 and October 19.

Update: The Kennedy Center has added videos of the performances held on October 18 and October 19.

Ann Sofie Clemmensen works with Deven Fuller and Emily Godfrey as they rehearse, while Katie Blake accompanies on viola

Featured image: Deven Fuller and Emily Godfrey rehearse In To and Out Of. Photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

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