“It might be the same feeling as arriving to a gallery,” Hanna Satterlee says. The variety and originality in the Vermont Dance Alliance Winter Gala is similar to the myriad artists you’d see represented in a museum. Each piece is unique, and in this case, one takes place in outer space, and another is about PTSD.
The Winter Gala takes place at Greensboro’s Highland Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, showcasing premieres by six Vermont choreographers representing the diverse dance culture that exists in the state.
“People can expect to see six new works, all different styles, that were made specifically for this show,” Satterlee, Vermont Dance Alliance founder, said. “Each choreographer has their own aesthetic, so it’s a mix of voices. No two pieces the same, although some themes and threads relate, which is interesting.”
The dances in the show relate back to an experience Satterlee had as an undergrad. That drew her not just to dance, but dance centered on a concept, after studying with a choreographer who made a conceptual piece on mental illness.
“His process was inclusive of a concept,” Satterlee said. “From then on I was intrigued that I didn’t have to just do steps. I could think about a concept and sculpt a world (around it). That curiosity feels insatiable.”
Each dance within the gala sticks to that idea.
“The piece that I made for the gala is called ‘Float,’” Satterlee said. “(I) wanted to embody the sensation of floating, to see how many variations of movement I could create from different dynamics of water, like a still lake, a flowing waterfall, being underwater, or floating.”
“I create the movement, and then there’s a process of weeding and sowing it into a different order than it was created,” she added. “So I don’t really work linearly.”
Choreographer Cyndal Ellis said her process of creating a dance usually comes from improvisation, but with this project, having a specific idea in mind first influenced that process.
“I usually let the movement tell me what the piece is about,” Ellis said. “(This time) I started with a concept rather than with a piece of music or a phrase of movement.”
Her piece in the gala is unique. She’s exploring the big-bang theory and the cosmos through movement.
“Not in a literal way, in a very human way,” Ellis said, “using comedy and horror and all the human emotions.”
The music she chose is unique, too: a compilation of actual vibrations picked up by NASA in space that was then translated into sound by musicians.
“I love the variety of dance that’s going to be shown at the gala,” Ellis said. “The variety of concepts and dancers themselves, I think it’s going to be a really inspiring show.”
“You can expect the unexpected,” Satterlee said. “This will be very unique experience (of) dance.”
As part of the gala, a master class is being offered from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday Feb. 16, open to any level of experience, which will give a taste of each dance style represented. Admission is $25, $20 for VDA members.
Satterlee added, “We want people to be able to make it so contact (us) if you need financial assistance.”