The DeMa Dance Company seamlessly fuses ballet, jazz, and modern dance to create tableaus addressing universal themes of humanity. They are one of the featured companies in the second annual Brooklyn Dance Festival, which will take place Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 at the Actors Fund Arts Center in downtown Brooklyn.
In the interview below, Yesid Lopez, Co-Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of the DeMa Dance Company, discusses his creative influences, his dance background, and more.
What piece are you performing at The Brooklyn Dance Festival and what is the idea or inspiration behind it?
I am setting a new creation exploring the influence society has on people — like the necessity of being part of a group or collective and the impact this has on the development of the individual mind in a world ruled by masses.
What is your dance background?
My early training is in traditional Colombian Folklore, Afro-Colombian and ballet, and I have done jazz, street jazz and contemporary. I also have been on the staff of Dance Times Square in New York City, teaching ballroom: rhythm, smooth, Latin and nightclub styles (salsa on 1 and 2, Argentine tango and hustle).
You grew up in Colombia. Is your choreography influenced by South American culture?
I use a lot of the movements I performed and observed growing up and combine it with ballet in a more contemporary way. Colombian Folklore is very diverse and eclectic, and I always love going back to my roots.
Favorite part of the rehearsal process?
The entire rehearsal process is magical, but my favorite part is when the movement becomes visual poetry with the music. When I can see the sound of any arrangement in the bodies of the dancers — especially with classical music. Our limbs and cores are the most perfect instruments in nature.
Most played songs on your iPod?
When I’m creating a new piece, I usually listen to the songs I’m using over and over again to immerse myself in the world of the piece. Sometimes I put my iPod on shuffle and let it surprise me, and other times, my mood dictates a favorite song of the day.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests outside of dance?
I’m an amateur filmmaker, and I love the process of editing and filming. I’ve worked on several film projects with fellow choreographers and dancers, and they have been really fulfilling. One of my first dance reels for a local contemporary company hit over 60,000 views in YouTube. You can check it out when you search “contemporary dance nyc”. It’s the first video in the list. I also follow MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). I’m a huge fan of the sport.
To learn more about the Brooklyn Dance Festival or to purchase tickets, visit brooklyndancefestival.org. And check out our Facebook page for the latest Festival news, artist interviews, and more.
Interview conducted by Elisa Lichtenbaum. A Senior Writer at Thirteen/WNET New York, Elisa has written articles on subjects ranging from Woody Allen to Downton Abbey. She studies tap dance with Germaine Salsberg.