Video: Through dance, a daughter confronts loss and hugs life in Fresno State concert

This piece was a tough one for Fresno State dance major Nathalie Contreras to choreograph.

“Flesh is Gone, Spirit is Near,” which premieres tonight (Friday, Feb. 15), at the John Wright Theatre, comes just months after the death of Contreras’ mother, Vivian Quiros. It’s part of the Contemporary Dance Ensemble’s spring dance concert, which this year is titled “Moving Through the Static.” Artistic director is Kenneth Balint. The show runs through Feb 23.

Because dance is such a visual medium, I asked Contreras to share some of her choreography and talk about some of her moves on camera. The following video was made with the assistance of Miguel Gastelum, communications specialist for the Department of Theatre Arts:

Contreras is one of two student choreographers whose work is featured in the concert. (The other is Caitlin Gainey.) I wrote about her in 2018 when she choreographed another piece for the Contemporary Dance Ensemble. (Since then, she got married and changed her last name.) Her mother’s illness occurred during the middle of the choreography process, and it had a profound impact on the piece. I’m sure it will be a tender moment in the program. Contreras’ mother was a faithful audience member and ardent supporter of her daughter’s dance dreams, which include going on to graduate school next year to study dance.

Show info

Contemporary Dance Ensemble, opens 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, John Wright Theatre, Fresno State. Continues through Feb. 23. Tickets are $17 general, $15 seniors, $10 students.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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