Cynthia Macedo is a George Brown Dance faculty member and one of the choreographers participating in the annual year-end show, Unleashed. We talked to Cynthia about her experience working with GBD, mentoring students, and her dance piece for Unleashed 2018.
Can you talk about how George Brown Dance has contributed to your work and experiences as a choreographer/dancer/teacher?
The experience for me is different from incoming choreographers as guests. My job as a teacher is to work in the studio on technique and vocabulary with the students. The wonderful thing is that then as a choreographer, I take that work we do in the studio—technique, vocabulary—and bring it in the rehearsal studio and translate it in to performance.
It’s great for me because it reminds me why we work so hard at technique. Sometimes we can get so consumed with perfecting a technique, but then when we go to perform it, we remember why we learned how to do a proper pirouette. When you get on stage, you must rely on your training.
So that’s what’s wonderful for me, as a teacher, I get to be on that other side. And I get to bring the two together, the technique and enhancing their performance skills but still making sure that they are cognitive of what they have learned in class—getting them to make that connection between class and performance.
It also creates a completely different relationship with the student. I’ve gone from teacher—to mentor. There’s not much of a hierarchy when you’re rehearsing, it is more of a collaboration. You have that overseer but then you also have the students as artists. Not thinking of them as students anymore, they’ve progressed into the professional realm of things.
Why is it significant for students to work with prominent choreographers?
It’s wonderful to have these guest choreographers come in because it really exposes the students to different artistic values and creation processes. Everyone works differently when they’re in a rehearsal and they’re creating pieces with people. Some people come in with a set mind going “you’re going to do it this way”. Some people come in with “we’re going to work together, let’s see how you move. I really like that, but can you do this a little bit,”—you know, a collaboration.
So, it exposes the students to the ability to work with different styles. It also exposes them to mentors outside the school. They are working with artists that have established themselves, have prominent careers, and are always looking for new talent.
What’s great about it is that we bring these dancers to them and we create a relationship and then they see this talent. You’re teaching professionalism in a student situation, so that when they go out into the world they can rely upon that experience and take it with them.
What is your new piece in Unleashed about?
My piece is a street tango. It’s going to take place in moonlight, hopefully—the lighting is still in the works. The piece involves nocturnal creatures that only come out at night to street dance, and when the sun comes up, they disappear into the darkness. That’s the piece on concept so far. The title, I think, is going to be “I Belong to the Moon”.
Unleashed 2018 performances on April 13 & 14 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre.