On the Spot

Liz Monroy / el Don

Liz Monroy / el Don

The Dance and New Music ensembles collaborate on a series of improvised shows during Downtown’s Art Walk

By Kay Thrasher

Visitors turned in surprise when a troupe of dancers wove through the crowd at the Downtown Santa Ana Art Walk last week.

The free performance by the Santa Ana College Dance Ensemble began on the promenade and continued up the stairs leading into the Santora Arts Building. Inside, the SAC New Music Ensemble accompanied the dancers as they continued their structured improvisation throughout the building and the open space of the second-floor SAC Gallery.

The ensemble, which was conducted by John Marr, professor of music theory and digital music, played Terry Riley’s composition, In C. The dancers performed under Heather Gillette, dance department chair.

The collaboration was part of the ongoing Santora Series, designed to provide opportunities for students to perform while offering free entertainment ranging from live jazz to poetry readings.

“It was a structured improvisation using all aspects of the Santora Building,” said Fine and Performing Arts Division Interim Dean Eve Kikawa. “An audience member has a heightened awareness of the architecture and environment because of the way the dancers move through that space.”

The dancers not only interacted with the SAC musicians but also with other musicians on the promenade.

“That was totally unscripted, spur of the moment,” Kikawa said.

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