Gallaudet Dance Company Collaborates With Dance and Fitness Groups The Gallaudet Dance Company (GDC) is collaborating with VF Dance and Fitness,a Maryland-based modern dance troupe, for the 2013-2014 academic year.Together, they will create a new dance piece for their respective spring concerts,with communication as the major theme.Veronika Farkas, founder and artistic director of VF Dance and Fitness,contacted GDC Director Sue Gill-Doleac about forming the partnership.Farkas, who is from Budapest, Hungary, learned about Gallaudet throughher sound designer, Mehdi Raoufi, who works occasionally with GallaudetTheatre Arts as a music composer. Farkas was inspired to partner withGallaudet based on her past experiences working with deaf dancers.Modern dance, unlike ballet or jazz, allows for a great deal of interpretation,and is an ideal medium to present a story since gives dancers ample freedom,Farkas explained. "Deaf dancers are already very expressive, and facial and bodyexpressions are a must in modern dance; therefore, I thought it would be agreat collaboration between sign language and dance,"she said. Farkas, who knows some American Sign Language (ASL), will be assisted byGDC stage manager/interpreter Taylor Denney, a hearing undergraduatestudent from Ft. Worth, Tex. majoring in early childhood education. "I am excited to do an exchange program with VF Dance,"said GDC Director Sue Gill-Doleac,who has been involved with the company since the age of18-first as a dancer when she was a Gallaudet student,and later as assistant director for 27 years."This is a great opportunity for a local choreographer to shareher creative works with GDC, and for the Gallaudet dancers tolearn modern dance technique." Farkas will teach Gallaudet dancers two dance routines-onewith both VF and Gallaudet dancers, and the other solely forGallaudet dancers. In keeping with the GDC's theme for this year,"Broadway and Beyond," one of Farkas' dance routines tells a storyabout a girl who gets a role on the stage in New York City's fabled theater district. The GDC Spring Concert will be enhanced by performances fromadditional dance troupes as well, including MarDelDance,a non-profit dance company based in New Jersey.MarDelDance dancer Jen Gill, whose parents are deaf, said,"Growing up around deaf culture, this is my first timeat Gallaudet and surrounded by deaf dancers. The dancers--and this experience--are amazing!"Local choreographer Debra Floyd, founder of Floyd Dance Company,a long-time collaborator with the GDC, is also creating anew dance piece for the spring concert. Kriston Pumphrey, a new dance assistant for the GDC,comes from a family of entertainers. He moved to Washington,D.C. from Rochester, N.Y. after graduating from RochesterInstitute of Technology to immerse himself in the deafperforming arts community. He teaches dance to GDC members,leads a hip-hop class for undergraduate students,and helps with ASL translations for dance shows.Pumphrey said he is excited about having Farkas asGDC's guest choreographer."Having a new choreographer helps us improve our technicalityand expand our horizons. The experience of havingFarkas has been great, since this year's group is verypositive, creative, and very motivated," he said. "I hope the Gallaudet dancers are learning from me asmuch as I am learning from them," said Farkas."Since the entire project is all about using no words or technology,like we do in everyday life to tell a story, and simply relyingon body language, the number one human communication skill,I am so thrilled to be teaching this way as well." The GDC, which is under the auspices of the Department of Art,Communication, and Theatre, has 15 talented dancers this year."What we look for in new talent is technique, motivation,and the ability to focus and learn,"Pumphrey said. The vision for the dance company is toimprove dance technique and utilize more ASL in itschoreography to appeal to all audiences. The annual GDC Spring Dance Concert will take placeApril 4 and 5 on campus, and the VF Dance Theater showwill be on May 4 and 5 at the American Dance Institute in Rockville, Md.