UNCG Campus Weekly

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‘transparency’ Lays Bare the Creative Process

041410EyeOnArts_TornowSome artists want their finished work to stand entirely on its own, neat and tidy. The messy rehearsals and revisions get swept under the rug before an audience comes calling.

Justin Tornow, a graduate student of dance, is not one of those artists. Her web site – www.jctworks.com – offers a window into the creative process building to her aptly named MFA concert, “transparency.”

“I started thinking about how artwork can become inaccessible,” Tornow says. “I decided to emphasize the humanity of the creative process. There’s a lot of rehearsal footage where the different pieces are far from their final form. Dance is made by real people.”

Performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 16-17, in the UNCG Dance Theater.

Tickets – $12 for general admission, $9 for senior citizens and children, and $6 for UNCG faculty and students – can be purchased at the UNCG Box Office, or in the lobby of the Dance Theater beginning an hour before each performance. For more information, call 4-4849.

Tornow’s web site includes the original project proposal submitted last April, full descriptions of the works, feedback from her thesis committee and peers, videos of the works-in-progress, and personal journal notes. She plans to have nine laptops in the theater’s lobby for audience members to view the site before and after the concert, and even during intermission. It will be opened for comments on April 16.

“Dance can be mysterious, which makes it easier for an audience to treat the work and the people as objects,” Tornow says. “I’m interested in breaking through that and seeing how audience members respond. I’m looking forward to hearing from people who see the concert.”

Divided into two halves, the concert explores what is seen and not seen in the theatrical setting. The works aim to construct and deconstruct the ideas of the individual, the collective and the theater itself.

The first half of the concert, about 25 minutes, consists of new works and the previously performed “nannou” and “no. 2.” Set to a score by Apex Twin, the first half uses dynamic theatrical lighting to denote relationships with space, interior structures and individuals.

The second half begins with “no. 4,” first performed at UNCG a year ago, and moves on to the new works “no. 4.5,” “no. 4.75” and “no. 5.” Using an array of theatrical effects, the second half reveals the behind-the-scenes aspects of a dance work. In a deconstruction of the theater and with projected audio from the technical crew, the second half challenges audience expectations.

A major goal of the concert and web site is to expose the artist’s tools and methods, Tornow says. She examines, and asks her audience to examine, the creation of dance as a solitary and as a collaborative process.

Tornow has studied dance at UNCG as both an undergraduate and graduate student. Her work has been presented across the state, including a tour with the 2005 North Carolina Dance Festival. She is the co-founder and director of the non-profit dance-based artist collaborative [project incite.]