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The Show Must Go On With Danielle Georgiou Dance Group


by Mia Estrada 4 Jun 2020

Every day on Art&Seek, we’re talking to people who have tips on art in the time of social distancing. Share yours with us on Facebook, Instagram, or @artandseek on Twitter. Click above to listen to Danielle Georgiou, artistic director of Danielle Georgiou Dance Group, share her tip with KERA’s Nilufer Arsala. 

The Danielle Georgiou Dance Group carries on amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  Their original production, “The Savage Seconds,” will finally get an audience – though it will be virtual.

Elaina Alspach with the cast of “The Savage Seconds” by Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. Photo: Andrew Ryan Shepherd.

It was set to premiere this summer at the Undermain Theatre, prior to entertainment venues’ closures. But since then, Danielle Georgiou, artistic director of DGDG, and Justin Locklear, producer of DGDG, adapted the performance they’ve been working on for five years, turning it into a digital production with music and dance.

Georgiou and Locklear were influenced by the current pandemic and once again adapted the story to fit a plague involved in the storyline, a nod to the plague of Thebes in “Oedipus Rex.”

“When the shelter-in-place hit and we were all dealing with the Coronavirus and how-to now live in this new world,” Georgiou said. “We started to re-adapt the story to our current situation and how we are personally dealing with these new changes and various levels of grief.”

Visit Undermain Theatre to purchase tickets for the film that will stream until June 10.

The story follows a 14-year-old girl who is sent home from a boarding school in the middle of a great plague and whose adolescence is hijacked by absent parents and malicious siblings. The cast of characters are family members and simply known as Father, Step-Mother, Eldest Child, Middle Child, and Baby. They suffer from grief, which stems from the death of the family matriarch. As the characters grow more distant, destructive patterns emerge. The part coming-of-age story represents those seconds of innocence and experience, said Georgiou.

“It’s that moment of revelation of trauma when you’re learning about the world and you’re realizing it for the first time,” Locklear said.

Dancer, choreographer and creative Danielle Georgiou was featured in the Art&Seek Spotlight.

With the uncertainty of life and theater, the idea of a 75-minute digital production was born. The dance and theatre film will stream until June 10.

“We wanted it to feel momentous and to feel like you are seeing a show like you would in a theatre,” Georgiou said. “We wanted to stay true to our dance theatre company and we wanted it to feel like an experience.”

Colby Calhoun, Monet Lerner and Nick Leos in The Savage Seconds by the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. Photo: Justin Locklear

To put on a show beyond the film, there will be a partner website for “The Savage Seconds” and audience members can interact with the show and the characters. The puzzle-like site has biographical material, personal writings and more. The website was first made for the actors to understand the characters and story development.

“We hope that it would attach a nuance and attach intimacy that we knew our movie wouldn’t necessarily be able to do,” Locklear said.

Stills from “The Savage Seconds.” Photo Courtesy: Danielle Georgiou.

Cast includes Elaina Alspach, Jovane Caamano, Colby Calhoun, Nick Leos, Monet Lerner, Will Acker, Kelli Howard, Christopher Lew, Sarah Mendez, Alondra Puentes and Omar Padilla. The crew includes Danielle Georgiou (director, choreographer, costumes), Justin Locklear (writer, director of photography), Gabriela Leodiou (production manager) and Lori Honeycutt (art direction, scenic and lighting design).

Georgiou said the production was “an exercise in creativity.” To push through and make the production happen for a cast of 11, there were various online rehearsals to learn the dance and music.

“It will not be on stage, but rather in spaces that we can easily control in terms of safety and sanitation,” said Georgiou in a statement. “It has been an exercise in creativity, making sure that we are masked, distanced and rehearsed in private.”

Got a tip? Email Mia Estrada at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter @miaaestrada.

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