UMD Dance Faculty Creates Nearby Site-Specific Performance
Two University of Maryland faculty recently explored the connection between art and everyday life in Placeholders, a site-specific dance performance and art installation held Saturday, September 13 in the Long Branch neighborhood of Silver Spring.
“Placeholders has been a unique opportunity for me to sink my teeth into a creative process in a neighborhood that’s close to where I both live and work.”
The performance was co-directed by Sharon Mansur, associate professor at the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS), and Ronit Eisenbach, associate professor at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
“Placeholders has been a unique opportunity for me to sink my teeth into a creative process in a neighborhood that’s close to where I both live and work,” Mansur wrote.
The performance examined what defines one’s sense of “place” in the face of transformation and takes place at three sites along Flower Avenue in the Long Branch neighborhood – the sidewalk, a parking lot, and a playground, Mansur wrote. The development of the Purple Line is expected to bring big changes to the neighborhood’s appearance and demographics.
“Learning about Long Branch’s history, its current daily rhythms, and upcoming development via the Purple Line also contributes to a rich pool of material to draw from,” Mansur wrote.
The dancers included Meredith Bove, Jessie Laurita-Spanglet (MFA Dance ’14), Sarah Oppenheim (current MFA Dance candidate) and Lynne Price (current MFA Dance candidate). The artists also encouraged audience members to share their own “placeholders” – objects, images and traditions that establish their identity and sense of place.
“During rehearsals on site, people of all ages have been curious about what we’re doing,” Mansur wrote. “Some children have even joined us in the dancing briefly! I love engaging people’s curiosity in the midst of their daily routines. Site dance can be so immediate, offering a brief but heightened sense of connection and engagement that can linger afterwards.”