Original Works

March was full of surprises—not a stretch to say, unhappy surprises. One, in particular, led to the immediate halt of VCD’s 7th production of Original Works, the island favorite dance showcase featuring student and professional choreographers.

With the help of our intern, Emalia Hinden, we are excited to bring you four of this years pieces, reworked and restaged for video! The creativity and ingenuity of our artists is on full display in these pieces—revising choreography from large group to solo or duet pieces; filming outside, wearing masks and keeping at least 10ft of distance. And yet, within these constraints, flourishing and creating anew, moving and healing—maybe the most important part of this project.

Behind the Scenes!

Videographer, Emalia Hinden just graduated from Hofstra University’s film studies and production program in 2019, where she focused on film directing. Emalia grew up on Vashon home schooling, and while she was home schooling she wrote a film which the Vashon community came together to do props, paint sets, shoot, score, edit, and act in together. It was shown at the Vashon theater in 2011 and tells the story of the first fictional female astronaut. She draws her greatest artistic inspiration from Agnes Varda, whose habit of filming nature and animals creates documentary- style realism in film.

The Videos!

WARNING: The second video, choreographed by Sadie Choo, uses a strobe effect.

Louisa Moody

VHS and VCD Alumni, Louisa Moody grew up dancing on Vashon Island. She attended Vashon Center For the Arts and participated in and choreographed for Original Works productions during her high school years. She is now going into her senior year at Western Washington University, as a Theatre Performance and Educational Theatre Major. She finds immense gratitude and joy in continuing her work as a choreographer. Louisa’s choreography is unique to her and was a good fit to participate in coordination with island artist, Christian Sun presenting his song. This piece was intended to be performed live with all musicians, and more dancers but was adjusted to a solo for presenting safely during a pandemic.

Sadie Choo

Artist statement by VHS Freshman and VCD Ballet 5 student, Sadie Choo:

Original works was, and still is, incredibly important to my experience as a dancer. It has taught me about auditions, time management, and taking responsibility and appropriate actions to get my work onto the stage. When preparing for this video project, it was at first difficult for me to reconnect with my piece, as so much has happened and changed since it was originally choreographed. It has also been difficult to rehearse in less than ideal locations due to pandemic restrictions. But, I am incredibly lucky to have the dance partner that I have, and am grateful for those who have made this project possible. When Original Works was cancelled, I thought that my piece would never be seen. But even if you cancel the show, the classes, and the space, those who are truly passionate about dance and what it means to people, will find a way. I am incredibly thankful to have such amazing and creative people in my life who are dedicated to keeping dance alive. Thank you for giving me the chance to do what I love.

Sadie Choo and Sophie Hancock had choreographed this piece before the pandemic to be worn with the masks shown in the video. Sadly, it was necessary for filming now during a pandemic.

Tamsen Henry

Artist statement by Tamsen Henry, VHS Senior and VCD Advanced Modern student:

Dance is my way of being honest with people about who I am. When I choreograph, I feel like I can express myself without miscommunication. It’s especially important now to be able to remember your creative outlets and practice tapping into them so you don’t lose touch with yourself.

Tamsen has choreographed Original Works pieces before, always with large group pieces, expressing empowerment through her choreography. This OW piece was adjusted from a group piece to a solo for presenting safely during a pandemic. The flashback black and white footage in the video was filmed before the pandemic during rehearsals, when they were working on it as a group.

Arianna Vickers


Artist statement by VHS Junior and VCD Ballet 6 student, Arianna Vickers:

Gwen Burwell and I have been participating in original works for the past 4 years, and we have both been dancing since a very young age.  Through the many years of dancing and the four years of participating in Original Works, we have learned how to choreograph, do music editing, costuming, and lighting. It has taught us many things and has really helped us grow as dancers. This year when covid took over, we had to figure out new ways to show our pieces. In preparing for this piece we had to cut down the size of our price from 4 people to 2 people and we had to adjust the choreography as well. But it taught us problem solving and our piece turned out ever better than before. We are so grateful that we are still able to share our art with the world and the dance community!

Support

Your support can have a direct impact on Vashon Center for the Arts! When you make a gift to VCA, you help enrich the many arts programs that are a hallmark of our center – Arts Education, Visual Arts, Vashon Artists in Schools, Vashon Center for Dance, and the Performing Arts. Through the generosity of so many in our community and beyond, VCA continues to cultivate a life-long love of the arts for children and families alike and nurture a community that values the important role the arts play in our lives.