The Department of Theatre and Dance at UTEP will host The World Dance Alliance Americas (WDA) annual general assembly for the first time from Feb. 13 to 17 at the UTEP Wise Family Theatre at the Fox Fine Arts.
The highly anticipated conference, “Moviendo La Frontera: Dancing through In-between Borders,” features dancers from all over the globe through live performances, panel discussions and master classes at the four-day conference.
WDA is an independent, nonprofit, non-partisan and secular organization that advocates for dance all over the world. The organization takes pride in its internationality with its branches in Asia, Europe, Africa and United States.
WDA was founded in 1990 at the Hong Kong International Dance Conference for dancers to communicate and exchange ideas on relevant issues. The organization serves to empower dancers throughout the world by giving them a platform to showcase their talents.
Dancers from UTEP, El Paso Community College and Paso Del Norte High School will open the four-day conference with live performances at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 14 and 15, at the UTEP Wise Family Theatre.
“Our students will be doing a beautiful piece that was choreographed by a professor from the University of Oregon, Shannon Mockli,” said Lisa Smith, UTEP associate professor and director of dance. “She was a guest artist here last semester. It’s a very beautiful dance and the students look terrific in it.”
Smith couldn’t be happier with what the event could potentially do for her students and their dance careers.
“For us as professors, this is very exciting for our students. This is big exposure for them — a large body of dance work and dance people that they would not have the opportunity to meet otherwise,” Smith said.
The conference will display diverse dance styles such as classical Indian, Afro-Cuban, Afro-modern, ballet, contemporary and more. UTEP Department Chair of Dance, Cristina Goletti, finds this opportunity to host this diverse event absolutely amazing.
“There isn’t much of a big dance scene in El Paso, so for us as an institution to host this diversity on campus is super important,” Goletti said. “My number one goal, as department chair, is to foster diversity and inclusivity.”
UTEP students from the department of theatre and dance will travel to Cd. Juárez for an additional performance Saturday, Feb. 16, where they will pay homage to the binational/bilingual reality of the border.
“We couldn’t have such a great event with all these people coming and not offer something to Juárez,” Goletti said.
Goletti believes the event will benefit UTEP and the community as an opportunity for students to network, and for the community to learn about dance.
The World Dance Alliance’s General Assembly will take place at UTEP Wise Family Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 and 15 with admission at $10. Feb. 16 performances will begin at noon with set locations to be announced; admission will be free.