Skip to main content

This is your Donation message.

Home » News » Dance students work with MANCC Visiting Artist Jinza Thayer

Dance students work with MANCC Visiting Artist Jinza Thayer

Published June 8, 2023

FSU student Io Ermoli works on visual element for “From Tokyo to Brooklyn: A Jagged Journey.”

Visiting Artist Jinza Thayer came to MANCC for her first residency from March 21 to April 3, 2023 to further develop her latest project. “From Tokyo to Brooklyn: A Jagged Journey (FTTB)” is a movement, voice and immersive site-specific installation. Drawing from Thayer’s bi-racial identity, it focuses on the vocal apparatus and acts as a site where identity and history are stored and “storied.”

Thayer and her three dancers explored how “otherness” manifests in the senses, how their skin acts and feels, how their muscles tense, and how their breathing changes. This process uncovered their own embodied histories and shifted their perception of “others” in reality, beginning with their own perceptions of themselves.

During Thayer’s MANCC residency, the dancers worked with her collaborator, theater director Ellen Hemphill, to ground the voice in the process of learning and re-learning a mother tongue. Hemphill’s vocal artistry evokes familiar, familial and foreign states of being to further the deepest embodiment in the vocal and physical movement of dancers.

Thayer additionally worked with visual artist Lelis Brito to imagine the built environment of the piece, creating distinctive “worlds” for dancers and audience alike to move through. FSU’s School of Dance undergraduate and graduate students assisted in the creation of the set, enabling them to learn about the building process and contributions that are behind the creation of a choreographic piece.

FSU School of Dance Junior, io Ermoli, described her experience. “I loved having the opportunity to help Lelis Brito create the installation for Jinza’s new work. While sewing, I had a lovely chat with Lelis and found out we share similar family histories and learned a bit more about her career. I didn’t get to see the final product until the showing later that week, and it blew my mind. What Jinza, Lelis, and their collaborators created in two weeks was incredible. I felt a strong connection to her story and her work, and through MANCC, I got to learn more about Jinza’s creative process. I can’t wait to see how her new work grows!”

Thayer held a rehearsal on Sunday, April 2 that was open to FSU’s School of Dance students, faculty and staff. The open rehearsal consisted of a performance and explanations from the artists, followed by an invitation for the audience to participate in the interactive set.

“From Tokyo to Brooklyn: A Jagged Journey” will premiere on Friday, December 16, 2023 at Frogtown Rec Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota.