EXCLUSIVE: Steps Dance Studio Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary With A Living Installation By Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish And Elena Comendador
As part of Steps Dance Studio’s 25th Anniversary celebration, the dance school presents ConFormities/DisFigurations/ReConfigurations, a collaborative living installation conceived by professional dancers, Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish and Elena Comendador. Both born in the Philippines, the New York-based artists have been working with the students at Steps for the production incorporating dance, visual art, and live music. As two of the few professional Filipina dancers in New York, Roxas and Comendador met through the Joyce Trisler Dance Company and instantly hit it off. Although they went their separate ways, they found their paths often intertwining, and eventually decided that they wanted to collaborate on a project. The two were awarded a grant from the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) to collaborate on a wearable sculpture/dance project, which Steps founder, Sofia Elizalde invited them to produce with the dance studio in the Philippines.
Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish has been dancing since she was 5 years old. At 11, she started dancing professionally, and later became the youngest member of Ballet Philippines. After seeing the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform in the Philippines, she decided to move to New York at the age of 17 to pursue a career in dance. She became the first Filipina to join the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and has since been recognized for her work and many contributions to the dance world in the United States. This will be the third consecutive year Roxas works with Steps, serving as the choreographer for this particular project. After workshopping with the students of Steps, over 20 dancers will be performing an improvised show that will run for 45 minutes.
After emigrating to the United States at 11 years old, Elena Comendador began her professional dance career at the age of 16, and performed with several acclaimed dance companies in the US. When she retired from the stage, Comendador began a career in costume design, in addition to teaching at several dance institutions—namely, Marymount Manhattan College, where she joined the faculty in 1998. Often using the stage as her “canvas,” Comendador has made a name for herself as a costume designer, exploring the interactions and blurring the lines between dance and the fine arts. For this production, the dancers will be interacting with her wearable sculptures, producing an ephemeral living installation.
ConFormities/DisFigurations/ReConfigurations will be performed for the first time at the Steps Dance Studio on Wednesday, March 20th.
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Photos by JC Inocian; head photo courtesy of Steps