The newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival is back next week at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater from Thursday, May 10 through Saturday May 12. Check the Facebook page for more info. Choreographers from Hungary, New York, Philadelphia, and Ohio will be coming to town. Also, Pittsburgh's own Pittsburgh choreographers will be presenting new work. The newMoves festival is a great chance to see some emerging locals. Beth Ratas is a local dancer and now choreographer that will be presenting a brand new piece. Beth's piece will be performed Thursday, May 10 at KST alongside Jamie Murphy and Renee Danielle Smith (PGH), Simone Sobers (NYC), Alan Obuzor (PGH), Jasmine Hearn (PGH), Shannon Murphy (PHL). Beth shared a little about her work process and what we can expect next next Thursday.
DB: What piece are you performing at newMoves? Who is involved in the ensemble?
Beth Ratas: I am creating a new work. It is a work-in-progress with the working title 'I dare you'. I am using 3 dancers plus myself. The dancers names are Alyssa Mayfield, Mariana Batista, and Jasmine Hearn.
DB: Where does your piece originate? What themes are you hoping to explore?
BR: My piece originated with the idea of women feeling the need to cover or veil themselves in society. As I became more clear, it shifted to the focus/idea of forbidden fruit/temptation. Through dissecting this topic, I started to explore the words allure, devour, and retract. If you are tempted by something, what do you choose to do, devour it or retract from it?
DB: How does the choreography process start? Is improvisation involved?
BR: I like to start with a guided improvisation. Allowing the dancers to become aware of how their structure is working. Often times, I gravitate to how the body feels from the inside, out. Inspired by skeletal structure, blood flow, connective tissue and working my way out to the epidermis. Then I start to add words that relate to my piece like: allure, devour, retract, sensual, bound, violent, and orange just to name a few. I allow the dancers to create movement based on improv, and then I start to structure the piece around their own improvised movement language.
DB: I noticed a new facebook page (LINK) - can we expect more Beth Ratas work in the future?
BR: Yes, you should expect to see more of Beth Ratas! I actually have a performance coming up on Friday July 6th @ 6pm @ The Union Project titled 'Relative Positions'. Curated by Shana Simmons, it is a multi-media/multi-room art happening that will bring many different artists together.
Photos by Jasmine Hearn.