Vibrant and visionary flamenco and contemporary dance are featured in new works from international guest artists and resident faculty in UNM’s faculty dance concert, SPIN, Friday, Feb. 20 through Sunday, March 1 in Rodey Theatre in the UNM Center for the Arts on the University of New Mexico main campus. Click for full schedule and ticket prices. Visit unmtickets.com to purchase tickets.

With choreography by Concha Jareño, Sonia Olla, Nino de los Reyes, Erika Pujič, Donna Jewell, Vladimir Conde Reche and Donald McKayle, the annual faculty dance concert highlights the talents of UNM dance students.

UNM is the only university in the United States that offers a degree in flamenco dance, and three works by Jareño, Olla and de los Reyes, all internationally known flamenco artists, feature prominently. “Cantiñas” by Jareño, choreographed for four women, is performed in the traditional bata de cola, a trained dress, which Encinias says “elicits images of water.” Jareño, a prize-winning Spanish dancer from Madrid, was a guest artist for the UNM Department of Theatre and Dance in the spring of 2013, the inaugural year of a permanent visiting professor line for its renowned flamenco dance program. Dancing “Cantiñas” are Dolores Garcia, Ysabella Trujillo, Rocki Jian and Lydia Gallegos-Johnson with José Chacon, Michelle Kassmann and Olivia Marin as understudies.

Notable in Olla's “Fandangos” is the song, Letras, of Fandangos de Huelva, which serves as the inspiration for the movement, creating a piece that is both lyrical and powerful. Olla was in residence at UNM in the spring of 2014. Olla is an international recognized artist who is establishing herself as a both a dancer and choreographer. Dolores Garcia, Ysabella Trujillo, Olivia Marin, Lydia Gallegos-Johnson, Carlos Menchaca dance “Fandangos”, with José Chacon, Michelle Kassmann and Rocki Jian as understudies. 

“La Caña” by de los Reyes, is a duet for a man and woman. At once romantic and edgy, it is choreographed using demanding rhythm and footwork. De los Reyes received his early artistic training under his parents, dancers Ramón de los Reyes And Clara Ramona. He continued his training at the “Centro de Arte Flamenco Amor de Dios” in Madrid. He completed this training at the Mariemma Professional Royal Conservatory of Dance. His residency at UNM was last spring. Carlos Menchaca, and Lydia Gallegos-Johnson are the dancers and understudies are José Chacon, Dolores Gallegos and Ysabella Trujillo.

Visiting Professor Erika Pujič created “Shifting Voices” on the University of New Mexico dancers in collaboration with musician Carl Landa. Pujič began her dance training at The School of Cleveland Ballet and received a bachelor of fine arts from The Juilliard School. Dancing in “Shifting Voices” are Dalila Baied, Mariah Baker, Jamie Book, Ariel Burge, Sonia Engman, Georgia Evans, Sarah Hogland, Kaitlin Innis, Emily Innis, Andrea Lozano, Elysia Pope, Ty Redding, Shaylee Stockham, Ashley Thompson Armijo, Estevan Velasco Romero and Kellie Walsh.

The concert’s artistic director, head of dance Associate Professor Donna Jewell, choreographs a new work, “Signs”, set to Ethiopian Jazz from the ‘70s. Humorous and mysterious, the work investigates the enigmatic quality of symbols and signs within in varied cultural contexts. The cast of eight dancers for “Signs” is Mariah Baker, Rocky Jian, Lisa Nevada, Elysia Pope, Shaylee Stockham, Ysabela Trujillo and Estevan Velasco-Romero.

Speaking about his new work, “Whiplash”, Associate Professor Vladimir Conde Reche said, "In this new choreographic work I explore possibilities in dynamics and speed, using the resistance of the floor and space discovering new possibilities as the dancers are challenged with the space and time around them." Elysia Pope, Sarah Hogland, Sonia Engman , Jamie Book, Ariel Burge, Georgia Evans, Alicia Meador, Emily Innis and Liz Groth are the dancers for “Whiplash.”

UNM’s dance program continues it’s partnership with the American Dance Legacy Institute with a re-staging of Donald McKayle’s “Rainbow Etude” (1996), by Associate Professor Mary Anne Santos Newhall. Based on McKayle’s “Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder” (1959), the “Rainbow Etude” was one of the first pieces commissioned by the American Dance Legacy Initiative. Julie A. Strandberg is the ADLI executive director, Carolyn Adams is the curator, and Mary Anne Santos Newhall is the New Dance Group Project Research director. Dancers and understudies for this piece include Sarah Hogland, Lisa Marie Nevada, Tyrell Redding, Estevan Velasco-Romero and Jacqueline Garcia is the rehearsal coach.