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Book of Questions, Blog of Answers: Q&A with Jacob Regan

*written by Hannah Chanatry
It’s been just over a week since our incredible fall show, Neruda’s Book of Questions: An Exploration Through Music and Dance, giving the lead choreographer, Jacob Regan, plenty of time to muse over the audience questions left on our mirrors. Check out his responses below, and don’t forget to keep using our hashtag #NERUDANCE!

Q: If not now, then when? If not us, then who?

A: Always and forever, by any and all.IMG_6552 2


Q: If I do not ask, who will answer?

A: Answers are all around you. Every instance, something is occurring in spacetime that gives light to new ways of experiencing. The universe will answer. And in this Q&A, I will answer.

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Going Once, Going Twice – Sold, to Urbanity Dance!

*written by Hannah Chanatry
For most places, the days after an incredibly successful fall dance production would be reserved for rest and relaxation, but not at Urbanity! Today marks the launch of our fall auction! To bid on an item, follow this link!

For those of you less familiar with the non-profit side of Urbanity’s work, we believe that everyone should have the access and opportunity to explore the benefiIMG_5432ts of dance. We provide a number of community programs to make this belief a reality, including:

  • Dance with Parkinson’s: Dance with Parkinson’s, designed to help improve the mobility,  flexibility, balance, coordination, and strength of individuals living with Parkinson’s disease, is offered free of charge to all participants.

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The Book of Questions: A Company Perspective

*written by Hannah Chanatry

Urbanity Dance‘s fall show, Neruda’s Book of Questions: An Exploration through Music and Dance opens TOMORROW! Our dancers have been working non-stop to make the show as amazing as possible, so don’t forget to buy your ticket here!

In the midst of their last rehearsals, our professional Company took a moment to reflect on the poetry that inspired the show. We asked them which question was their favorite, which inspired them the most, or which they simply found the most memorable.

Jamie Lovell

Jamie L“Do you know what the earth meditates upon in autumn (why not give a medal to the first golden leaf)?”

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Betsi Graves: The Woman Behind the Curtain

*written by Hannah Chanatry
2K1A0135Betsi Graves, Director of Urbanity Dance, has had a long-term relationship with the words of Pablo Neruda – since high school in fact. The impression she had then is the same she has now – everyone can be touched by Neruda’s work.

“You don’t have to have this polished, academic vocabulary to understand his language,” explained Graves. “He’s really all about making it accessible. So even in high school, when I was reciting Spanish poetry, I felt a connection right away.”

With regards to Neruda’s final work, The Book of Questions, much of the accessibility comes from the fact that no matter which order the poems are read in, they still make sense. For Graves, this opened the door to endless possibility.

“It allows for more questions and more exploration, and I think that’s really at the heart of contemporary dance,” said Graves. “It lets people’s unique voices shine through, whether that’s the artist, or whether that’s the audience finding their own way to interpret the work. It allows for individual choice rather than force-feeding a specific narrative.”

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Jacob Regan: From Company to Choreographer

*written by Hannah Chanatry
2K1A0060Since joining Urbanity Dance’s professional company in January, Jacob Regan has been quite the multi-tasker. Not only does he perform with the company, but he is now also the lead choreographer for Urbanity’s fall show, Neruda’s Book of Questions: An Exploration Through Music and Dance.

“Betsi [Urbanity’s Director] had seen a lot of my work and my processes, and she really liked them, so we had a number of conversations,” said Jacob on how he came to take the lead for the show. “Choreography is what I want to be doing, and she gave me the chance.”

Drawing inspiration from the structure of Pablo Neruda’s collection, Jacob embraced the “choose your own adventure” style of The Book of Questions, crafting the performance to work in a similar manner.

“You can open this book and go to anywhere in the collections, read it in any order you want, and it makes your own story,” said Jacob about the poems. “I think that’s really fascinating, so I wanted to try that with dance.”

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Beau Kenyon: The Music Man of Urbanity Dance

*written by Hannah Chanatry
On the heels of #ArtsMatter Day, we spoke with Beau Kenyon, music director and curator for Urbanity Dance’s fall show, about the arts, Pablo Neruda, and the process of collaboration.

Even over the phone, Beau Kenyon’s excitement is infectious.

“It’s important to express ideas, to have freedom of voice,” stressed Kenyon. He continued to emphasize the importance of creative thought, an ability he explains is not exclusive to the arts world, but can be applied everywhere. “To think like an artist can permeate society in interesting ways,” he said.

Kenyon has been thinking like an artist for most of his life. Beginning his artistic involvement at the age of four with piano instruction, he now works as a freelance composer and Associate Director of Extracurricular Programs at Kingsley Montessori School.

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