But Where There's Hope There's Life

A Collaborative Project by Health and Kinesiology/Dance Program, Performance Studies, History and Visualization

A few years ago, The Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts at Texas A&M, brought in Third Rail Productions who created a project for performance studies and dance students. It was an immersive dance theatre work that was staged in Downtown Bryan in the old lumber building. Throughout the development of this project, TAMU faculty leaders worked with students and guest artists to create a unique experience for the community. The collaborative efforts that took place with Third Rail Productions inspired the process behind this project.

This project, But Where There’s Hope, There’s Life, focuses on the Holocaust and communicating the impact and importance of this event in our history. The work comes at a time in our country where we are questioning the ideas of immigration, human rights, and civility for others. Each of the participating faculty will bring their unique expertise to the project, allowing a rich, artistic experience for viewers. The choreographers, Carisa Armstrong and Christine Bergeron, had their work Todesmärsche, an excerpt from But Where There’s Hope, There’s Life, premiere at the American College Dance Association South-Central conference. Critics and audience members alike supported the work and it was selected to be included in the Gala concert to represent the region.

The evening length work will consist of nine choreographed sections as part of an evening length dance theatre work that will vary in group size, space, and timing. The performance will include:

  • An abstraction of Hitler’s speech and his rise to popularity,
  • A look at the everyday lives of people in hiding,
  • Depictions of transportation to the concentration camps through the railroad system,
  • Examples of daily life in concentration camps, and
  • What led to liberation in 1945.

Sequences of four days of performances with 3 performances each evening will take place in the historical district of Downtown Bryan. Audience members will have a guide that will travel with them from one location to the next. In this transitional journey, the guide (a TAMU Performance Studies student) will provide historical background information supported by materials and experiences to help set the tone for the next portion of the journey. This type of nomadic theatre experience will enhance the feeling of not being fully in control of the situation and add to the sense of homelessness felt by many Holocaust victims. Concluding the experience, audience members will get to interact with the creators and performers in a question and answer session.

 

Photo by Igor Kraguljac