BY JEFF LEVENE
It’s hard to believe it’s been just a year since Greenville’s legendary choreographer Vaughn Newman opened his studio, and to celebrate one year of Vaughn Newman Dance is presenting its first public production, Here…Now, featuring six original dances that are set to explore the rainbow of human emotion.
Newman’s mission is to bring the joys of professional concert dance to Upstate communities while simultaneously providing the chance for under-served communities to access contemporary dance training and performance opportunities. In addition Newman has found a way to use dance as a form of exploration and communication in individuals and communities.
“While we provide dance instruction and opportunities for professionals and hobbyists we do so by infusing life experiences which has a common spiritual thread,” says Newman. “Mainly dance becomes the conduit for thought but not without spirit introspection, that’s when dance comes alive!”
Tapping into the powers in dance, VND classes and performances often allow its performers and students the chance to laugh, cry, grieve, or even handle anxiety, using dance as a tool to tackle these emotions. And Here…Now is a premier example of how this marriage between movement and feelings produce incredible and therapeutic art.
“VND’s Inaugural Concert will speak to this very metamorphosis that so many of us experience,” says Newman. These experiences range from childhood, adolescence, abandonment, relationships, abuse, violence, womanhood, racism, prejudice, and enlightenment, and all are experiences Newman himself has explored through his own choreography.
Here… Now really speaks to my personal journey and evolutionary process of acceptance,” says Newman. “In order to be “Here” I must acknowledge my journey of understanding, knowing who I am, even the spiritual blood ties of my ancestors. And the shedding of old self is no easy task.”
Through movement Newman is exploring the dichotomy of all these emotions.
“While I was surrounded by so much love, happiness, and community, inside I was full of despair, anxiety, and depression,” says Newman, reflecting on his own upbringing. “But I was never defeated and kept progressing and creating my art.”
Needless to say, Here…Now is set to be a powerful emotional performance that will leave audiences in need of some tissues.
“I believe the audience will relate to these real and tangible truths,” says Newman. Here… Now will detail the struggle of evolving yet encourage beyond circumstance, and more importantly, I think the audience will leave this performance ready to live that final moment- Now.”
Here…Now runs June 21st and 22nd at 8pm or June 23 at 3pm at VND Studio. Tickets available at vaughnnewmandance.org $20 for adults, $15 for students.