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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Collegians take Latin dance to stage with Contra Tiempo
UNC Charlotte students perform at Booth Nov. 7-9
 
Published Thursday, November 7, 2019 1:46 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | SAM SALVATO
Students from UNC Charlotte dance professor Tamara Williams’ Afro Brazilian dance class will perform with Contra Tiempo Nov. 7-9 at Booth Playhouse.

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UNC Charlotte students are taking what they learned in the classroom to the stage with Contra-Tiempo Urban Latin Dance Theater.


Ten students in Assistant Professor of Dance Tamara Williams’s Afro-Brazilian dance class will perform with the Los Angeles-based troupe in “joyUsjustUS” Nov. 7-9 at Booth Playhouse. The work highlights social justice through Afro-Cuban, salsa, hip hop, contemporary dance and original music.


“The students have been rehearsing with me on Monday afternoons and learning a little bit of the repertoire for the piece,” Williams said. “The students will be integrated within the work that Contra-Tiempo is going to be performing. They are figures that represent justice, equality, things that represent inequality as it relates to elements of nature. It has a very intricate way of working with the body to tell the narrative of what this story is about.”


Taking advantage of the opportunity was an easy decision for senior Dinora Ramirez, who is studying health systems management with a minor in public health.


“Professor Williams told us about this company called Contra-Tiempo, and how it incorporates Latin dance movements and the roots with urban dancing,” Ramirez said. “I was like, ‘this would be an amazing opportunity!’ Of course I took the opportunity right when I heard about it. I absolutely love it. Dance is a part of life. I feel like if I’m not dancing I’m not happy.”


Williams noted that many of the students are not dance majors, despite being members of her class. The opportunity of performing with a professional company is a unique experience for many of them.


“This is the first time that many of them are actually going to be on stage,” Williams said. “It’s the first time that they have this kind of rehearsal process of learning a work, and really diving deep into the narratives of social justice or what the art work can represent on stage.”  


Said Ramirez: “This one piece we have is about water movement, and how justice is incorporated into that, and knowing that water will always be able to teach you, just like it has before in the past, it will teach us now, because we came from water, and incorporating that into our class, and the movement.


“The part of the movement with water being teaching in the movement, that to me is extremely poetic. I did hear that a part of the movement is going to involve a little bit of a jam—where we kind of freestyle with the music. To me it’s like reaching back into who you are, and your movement as a dancer, and being able to incorporate that with the music and the rhythm, and I think it’s a beautiful time for everybody to just kind of shine and show what they have. Mixing all that in with what we’ve learned, I think is an amazing opportunity.”

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