New Mexico Dance Theater (NMDT) presents its 11th annual spring recital, “The Elements,” today and Saturday at Duane W. Smith Auditorium.
“The Elements” features 25 dances performed by 170 students enrolled in the NMDT School. NMDT special guests, the Los Alamos Hilltappers and Los Alamos Belly Dancers also will perform.
NMDT will recognize the 15th anniversary of the Cerro Grande Fire at the recital with a special piece by local composer Eric Bjorklund and choreographed by NMDT director Susan Baker-Dillingham.
“Eric approached me last spring with the idea of a collaboration revolving around the Cerro Grande Fire and his composition called ‘Wind and Flame,’ Baker-Dillingham said. “I was intrigued with his idea and with the idea of collaborating, but mostly the thought of creating a dance about such an incredibly emotional event was very compelling.”
“My wife and I have been attending NMDT-PC productions for years, and I became increasingly impressed with Susan’s choreography, her storytelling, and her sense of theatre,” Bjorklund said. “Somewhere between ‘A Christmas Carol’ and her second incarnation of ‘Dracula’ it occurred to me that a skilled choreographer with a gift for storytelling could make the story of ‘Wind and Flame’ even more powerful than just the music alone.”
“The score took several years to complete,” Bjorklund said, “as it had to if it was to span the complete experience from the initial anxiety, the destruction, the loss, the grief, the eventual healing, and the rebuilding. Like many other artists I know, art was our response and our therapy with respect to the events of that fire.”
“For those who went through Cerro Grande, my hope is that this piece will acknowledge and validate your experience. Those who did not go through it will doubtless have their own tragedies, disasters, or losses that this performance might resonate with,” Bjorklund said.
“After the grieving, the healing, and the rebuilding, we say things are ‘back to normal,’ but they are never the same,” Bjorklund said. “Houses are rebuilt, but neighborhoods are permanently lost. New relationships are formed, and like the final chord of ‘Wind and Flame’ what is ‘new’ becomes the ‘new normal’ through sheer persistence.”
Performances for “The Elements” aret 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Saturday at Duane W. Smith Auditorium Tickets are available at the door 45 minutes prior to performance times and are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors and free for children age four and under. Visit www.nmdt.org or call 505.661.3226, for more information.