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RIC Dance Company film to be shown at Colorado festival in Sept.

Members of the Rhode Island College Dance Company will be getting some national attention this fall when their film “Year, Make & Model” is screened at the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema in Boulder, Colo., from Sept. 16–18.

In addition, the film will be shown at the Festival VideoDanzaBA in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November.

“Year, Make & Model” is a site-specific work that was filmed at Gosetti’s Auto Care in Johnston, and featured RIC students Jamie Arnold, James Burgis II, Naysh Fox, Lauren Huggon, Cassie Murdock, Victoria Murno and Joey Nicastro.

Click photo to watch full version of 'Year, Make & Model.'
Created for the RIC dancers by New York-based choreographer Marta Renzi, the film premiered at the dance company’s 2011 Spring Concert. Renzi had previously created dances for the company, and some of those performances included Angelica Vessella, then a RIC student who is now director of dance at the college.

In the film, music plays as the work continues in the car repair shop while the students seamlessly transform the garage into a dance hall where the color red pops out against the grayness of the garage, twinkle lights give a bright contrast to the dimly cast shadows of the shop, and airy, beribboned balloons float among the tool boxes.

Vessella, who invited the choreographer to make the film, had also danced with Renzi’s Project Dance Company in New York’s Central Park.

“I thought our students would benefit from learning about film and having the opportunity to see a film being made,” Vessella said.

Renzi’s residency at RIC also included a classroom experience where she tutored students on dance in film. Many students who did not appear in the film were helping behind the scenes, Vessella added.

Renzi explained why she chooses film as a medium for some of her pieces: “For me, as a choreographer who is often drawn to specific sites, shooting a dance inside one is a natural – how else could an audience fit inside the car repair shop?”

The film didn’t have an auspicious beginning. Renzi recalled that it started “during a snowstorm, with auditions on the Sunday, three days of rehearsal, and a shoot the following Thursday and Friday.”

But “Year, Make & Model” has given Renzi her fifth straight appearance at the Sans Souci Festival.

The festival started in Boulder, Colo., in 2003 with the support of the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) and the University of Colorado. It was conceived in the spring of that year by Michelle Ellsworth and Brandi Mathis in the Sans Souci Trailer Park in Boulder.

Renzi’s work has been shown at festivals in New York, San Francisco, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France and Portugal. She is a board member of the Dance Films Association, which has been in existence for 50 years.

“Dance on camera is as old as cinema itself, since Edison first filmed Ruth St. Denis dancing in1894, and Loie Fuller was filmed by the Lumiere Brothers in 1896,” Renzi said.

“It encompasses Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly dancing in movie musicals, experimental work such as that of Maya Deren, PBS Great Performances, as well as MTV.”

“Year, Make & Model” is also being shown on Aug. 22 as part of an evening of Dance on Camera hosted by Island Moving Company at Salve Regina University in Newport.