Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony
Wednesday, February 13th, 2019
6:30 p.m. @ Wise Theatre


What Once Was Held

Choreographer: Shannon Mockli
Dancers: University Dance Company, UTEP

Shannon Mockli is from Salt Lake City, Utah where she received her MFA and the L. Scott Marsh Mentorship Award from the University of Utah, Department of Modern Dance in 2008.  Shannon has danced with a wide variety of choreographers such as Stephen Koester, Harry Mavromacalis of Dance Anonymous in New York City, Doug Elkins, Brent Schneider, Eric Handman, Abby Fiat, Tandy Beale, Lisa Race, Pamela Geber and Satu Hummasti. She has performed at the La MaMa Theater in New York City, White Wave Dance Festival in Brooklyn, New York Dance Alliance 50th Anniversary, Northwest ACDFA 2006-2008, and at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Theater in Salt Lake City. Shannon has taught modern dance technique, improvisation, composition, and video technology at the University of Utah and in the surrounding community.

Shannon has also developed her skills as a professional videographer, editor and teacher of dance media.  She has served as a videographer and editor for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Summer 2004 and Bates Dance Festival 2005.  Shannon has continued to develop her video skills by working with an independent video production company in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah Modern Dance Audio/Video Department, and as an independent videographer. In Spring 2006, she directed the University of Utah’s International Student Dance Film Competition.  Most recently she served as a videographer and steadicam operator for  Victoria Marks and Ellen Bromberg, and co-created a promotional video for the University of Utah, Department of Modern Dance 2007.​

Sensate Technicities

Choreographer & Performer: Kaustavi Sarkar
Music: Recorded Music

Artist’s Statement: Sensate Technicities: Exploring the Sensory and the Affective explores the ambient, sensory, kinesthetic, and the affective aesthetics of the Indian classical idiom by honoring its regional variations as well as its diasporic travels. Distillation of the technical–percussive and literary–components choreographically in order to reach the corporeal while coloring it with the subtlety of earthy textures. The ritual grounding of the movement to the earth and its origins within Hindu philosophy, theology, aesthetics, and spirituality question the sacred-secular binary of the western concert dance paradigm. Proportion, measure, and technique constitute this idiom as much as its literary and ritual contexts. Historically, the prolific and ornate field of Hindu temple architecture and sculpture inform and are informed by the movement, the origins of which can be traced back to the second century B.C. text Natyasastra allegedly written by Bharata. Sensate Technicities is about choreographic distillation of the architectural as well as the technical components in the dance in order to explore the sensory appeal. The essence of the movement is to establish a sense of connectivity between the artists themselves as well as between the artist and the audience. This synergistic relationship branches from the underlying theory of affect, also known as Rasa theory, undergirding the performativity. Through a collaboration between the fields of dance and architecture and a conversation across disciplinary affiliations, Sensate Technicities allows for the emanation of the sensory via integrating movement and expression, corporeality and materiality, space and event, time and direction, and the contemplative with the communicative.

Kaustavi Sarkar, Ph.D., an Odissi practitioner-scholar, is an Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and has taught at Kenyon College (OH). She is the Artistic Director of Kaustavi Movement Center, an India-based organization dedicated to feminist and queer research in Indian classical dance praxis. She employs entrepreneurial measures for building a dance fraternity since her teaching, choreography, and writing build conversations across academe, performance, and business. Her choreography and scholarship has been featured in American College Dance Association Conference, Dance Studies Association, World Dance Alliance, and Odissi International. Her book project Sensate Technicities presents a critical cultural take on dance technique as a technology of social justice. Her research interests include Practice-as-Research, arts entrepreneurship, digital humanities, and queer theory.

Opening Remarks

Interim Provost, College of Liberal Arts
Introduced by Myron Nadel, UTEP Faculty

Dean, College of Liberal Arts
Introduced by Cristina Goletti, WDAA President

Poetry Reading by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Award-winning American Poet, Novelist and Children’s Book Author
Introduced by Lisa Smith, UTEP Dance Director

Choreography: Cristina Goletti in collaboration with the dancer
Dancer: Valeria Gonzalez

Novelist, poet, and writer of children’s books, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, was named one of the “Fifty Most Inspiring Authors in the World” by Poets & Writers magazine. His latest collection of short stories Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club is the winner of the prestigious 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, as well as a Lambda Literary Finalist for Gay Fiction.

Sáenz was born in 1954 in Old Picacho, a small farming village outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico, forty-two miles north of the U.S. / Mexico border. He was the fourth of seven children and was brought up in a traditional Mexican-American Catholic family. He entered the seminary in 1972, a decision that was as much political as it was religious. After concluding his theological studies at the University of Louvain, he was ordained a Catholic priest. Three and a half years later, he left the priesthood. At the age of 30, he entered the University of Texas at El Paso. He later received a fellowship at the University of Iowa. In 1988, he received a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship in poetry from Stanford University. In 1993, he returned to the border to teach in the bilingual MFA program at UTEP.  His 2012 novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Simon and Schuster) is an Honor Book for the Printz Award, and the winner of the Pura Belpré and the Stonewall Awards.

He is the author of numerous novels, books for children and young adults. His beloved young adult novel Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood, a staple in many high school curricula, was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize, a Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults, and winner of the Américas Award.  His bestselling bilingual children’s books include: A Gift from Papá Diego, Grandma Fina and Her Wonderful Umbrellas and A Perfect Season for Dreaming.  Sáenz is the author of a previous book of poetry, Calendar of Dust, which won an American Book Award. Cinco Puntos published two of his other books of poetry called Elegies in Blue and the now out of print, Dark and Perfect Angels.

He lives and works in El Paso, Texas.

Infinite Groove

Choreographer: Siomara Bridges-Mata, Re-staged for this performance by Sara Jackiewicz
Company: El Paso Community College Dance
Performers: Cecy Alcantar, Valeria Corral-Pereda, Crystal Gonzalez, Estephanie Gonzalez, Junior Jacquez, Jose Orona, Cassidy Newsome, Alondra Rodriguez, Jacqueline Reyes, Sara Vasquez
Music: “A Different Kind of Happiness” by Stefano Ritteri, “River” by Ibeyi, “Work It Out” by Karizma

Artist’s Statement: What is a groove? Infinite Groove explores the idea that each individual has a unique movement signature that emanates from deep within the body.  A groove is wave-like and repetitive, gathering strength and energy over time.  Share your groove with another person and it takes on elements of that individual’s past and present experience. When we ride a groove, we are riding a wavelength of human movement that extends into the infinite past and will continue shaping the future. When you are in your own “groove,” you’re truly connected to self, time, space and energy. No matter who’s watching or tries to distract you, you’re locked in. You lose track of time–lost in the moment. Whatever puts you in an infinite groove, make it a part of your life, daily!

Siomara “Cee Cee” Bridges-Mata earned her BA in Dance Education from CUNY Hunter College and has been teaching dance as a form of empowerment for over a decade. She is the founder of M.O.V.E. Bridges Dance project: Movement, Originality, Voice & Exploration. MBDP unifies Siomara’s passion for teaching, facilitating, and cultural exchange with her relentless pursuit of educational innovation. Since launching MBDP, Siomara has taught throughout the US, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Predating MBDP, Siomara was selected to co-create and teach a curriculum on “Urban Dance in America” in partnership with the Costa Rican Ministry of Culture, which has inspired her work to date. Siomara currently resides in Tampa, Florida and remains active in the arts & education community; partnering with nonprofit organizations, corporations and schools to design innovative and inspiring dance experiences for all ages.

Ballet Folklorico El Paso

Director: Arturo Guerrero

Ballet Folklorico of El Paso’s main objective is preservation of the Mexican Culture through the art of dance.


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