On Saturday the 30th, Larry Keigwin brought “Bolero Texas,” a choreographed dance to Ravel’s “Bolero,” to the Irving community, and University of Dallas senior Emily Feller and alum Carolyn Davis were a part of the production.
Earlier this year, representatives from “Bolero Texas” called to ask for UD students to participate, and Feller and Davis, long time members of dance teams at UD, were a perfect fit.
The trademark element of “Bolero Texas” is its integration of the local culture of Irving into the dance and its inclusion of people from the surrounding community.
“I have been in dance performances before, but nothing quite like this, where it’s so centered on the local community,” Feller said.
“There are all types of people from different backgrounds, careers and ages, but it’s been surprisingly easy to relate to them.” Davis said.
Keigwin seeks to identify the local elements and cultural backgrounds of the particular cities that he produces in, and he draws in both amateurs and professionals to add a dimension of reality to the productions, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The performance on Saturday at the Irving Arts Center included elements such as a live longhorn, a two-step and imagery from the State Fair of Texas, according to The Dallas Morning News.
He has put on about 12 productions across the country — and no dance is exactly the same.
“A lot of dance productions, especially those by dance companies, are usually tailored to a crowd of experienced dancers. ‘Bolero Texas’ gives others an opportunity to dance and shine in their own light while getting involved in the community,” Davis said.
The incorporation of students Davis and Feller into the production is, in a sense, a reminder of the role that the UD plays in Irving.
“It’s been a great opportunity to meet people in the community outside the UD Bubble and cool to see what we collectively put together — I love dancing and I love Texas,” Feller said.
For Feller and Davis, this experience has been an inspiration to the way they view dance and has been full of new and sometimes surprising experiences.
“I have gotten to meet so many new people,” Davis said. “I saw one lady wearing a crucifix, and that sparked a great conversation about her personal life and her Catholic faith.”
“It’s been great working with Keigwin and seeing a little bit into his mind and the way that his creative process works, how he relates to other people,” Feller said. “I get to learn from him and can now adapt the way that I approach choreography to my own process.”
The time commitment of two-and-a-half to three hour practices per day has been no small matter for both Davis, who works, and Feller, a full time student.
“I am used to the idea that when you really enjoy something, you put in the work even though you’re tired,” Davis said. “When I was at UD, I always made time for dance, often at the expense of sleep.”
“It’s a big chunk of time, but it’s easier to go all in for rehearsals and catch up right before midterms,” Feller said.
This type of dance is new for both Feller and Davis, who believe that the effort to incorporate elements of reality into dance is an important witness to a positive view of the world.
“I think that for people who don’t usually watch dance, it’ll be different from what they expect,” Davis said. “It’s very different — it’s modern, theatrical, and has a different group of dancers. I think that what Larry is doing is is an essential lesson for the world today — it promotes a more universal and esoteric view of life.”