Over the weekend of September 23, some of Sewanee’s dance and theater students collaborated with and learned from two visiting theater artists who have worked in theaters across the country: Josie Guevara-Torres and Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre. Guevara-Torres (C’15), a costume designer with experience in dance, choreography, and stage production, and Vazquez-Aguirre, an assistant professor at Southern Utah University and coach/co-director of Another River Interdisciplinary Ensemble, each shared their respective crafts with these students.
Guevara-Torres choreographed, danced, and designed for Dancewise, Perpetual Motion, and Theatre Sewanee and also won an honorable mention from the Southeastern Theatre Conference her senior year for her design work in All’s Well That End’s Well. She has since worked as a stage manager and technician as well as a costume designer for theaters such as the Washington National Opera. During her return to Sewanee this past weekend, she shared some of her experience with students interested in costume design.
Vazquez-Aguirre studied at the National Conservatory of Dance and has an M.F.A. in dance from the College at Brockport. Her professional career has included performances and choreography with companies such as the Latina Dance Theater Project. Vazquez-Aguirre instructed a master class based in Mexican Folkloric dance in addition to choreographing a piece for the show, a piece she explained will examine social protest as “a core element for the existence and consolidation of publicly expressing opinions, dissenting, demanding compliance with social, cultural, and environmental rights, and affirming the identity of groups that have historically been discriminated against.”
Vazquez-Aguirre hopes that her choreography to the song “Eve of Destruction” for the DanceWise concert will emanate a “feeling of looking at the future in a hopeful way” and unite audience members and dancers alike “for a positive change” in how we approach civil rights. She encourages all young artists to pursue their art: “Go for it because [art] is a . . . medium for different perspectives that can create discussion.” She appreciates her work with students that has “opened the possibility to research things creatively [she] otherwise wouldn’t” and extends her gratitude to them as well as all in the Sewanee theater department who invited and welcomed her on campus.
Those who wish to support the work Josie Guevara-Torres and Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre as well as the Sewanee theater department and its students should look forward to attending DanceWise: Corporealities later this fall to celebrate and examine dance as both a visual art and a microphone for statements defending human rights.