Immersive Insights: Conversations from the Floor

Immersive Insights: Conversations from the Floor


Presenting Denver’s “Conversations from the Floor” offers a unique opportunity for audiences to immerse themselves in the narrative, as described by Marisa Hollingsworth, Executive and Artistic Director. This was my first opportunity to experience an active audience engagement with a performance, and it unfolded as an immersive journey into vulnerability, human connection, and artistic interpretation. This Presenting Denver event featured three five-minute performances by three different companies, each allowing for an exchange of insights and emotions, leaving a lasting impact on both the performers and audience alike.

The opening act by Evolve Dance Project showcased a segment from “Glass House” titled “The Door.” Here, six dancers navigated the delicate terrain of vulnerability, their movements echoing the fragility of human emotion. As they danced, seemingly drawn to the different musical instruments in the music, the audience was invited to witness the raw essence of vulnerability in motion. Brittnay Walker, the choreographer, shared profound insights into the piece, revealing how vulnerability can be both painful and transformative. One of the dancers described her emotional evolution from tearing away pieces of clothing to physically exiting the “glass house” by coming off the stage. I sat beside young girls unfamiliar with vulnerability, asking just as the dancers described it as “being seen through glass,” a perfect summary.

Following this, Moraporvida Contemporary Dance presented “Trace Memory,” a poignant exploration of the human condition. Beginning with almost apocalyptic-like music followed by an audio of a conversation, the piece unfolded against a backdrop of piercing blue, drawing the audience to connect the performance with their own memories. Choreographer Jacob Mora challenged us to contemplate the briefness of the excerpt we saw. What would our experience have been like seeing the entire piece? How does our perception change from looking at a small piece rather than a whole? The dancers’ gave us insight into their thoughts while performing, using their own memories, both joyous and painful, to inform their movements. It added depth to the performance, highlighting the profound connection between memory and movement.

Finally, “Sun and Steel” by Boulder Ballet offered a dynamic exploration of action and art, inspired by the controversial text of Japanese author Yukio Mishima. The performance began with an ethereal ballet featuring two female dancers, exuding a sense of empowerment and grace, and creating a “girl-power moment” as described by the dancers themselves. As the male dancer entered, the energy shifted, leading to mesmerizing spins and displays of strength. The audience’s questions revealed the intricate trust and connection it takes for dancers to perform without bounds. We learned from one of the female dancers that trusting in her partner allowed her to not only perform a magical arabesk, but portray her character in the most authentic way.

In conclusion, “Conversations from the Floor ” provided a platform for audiences to engage with dance offering insights into vulnerability, memory, and the intersection of action and art. Through intimate conversations and captivating performances, Presenting Denver facilitated a deeper understanding these incredible performance, allowing us as an audience to leave with an appreciation of not only the performance itself, but the incredible details by the choreographers, the intimate emotions experienced by the dancers, and the impact and connection the audience experiences throughout the event.

At the end of these performances, we received a few minutes to reflect on the pieces. The audience was provided with feedback forms, inviting them to delve deeper into their experience. Questions prompted attendees to articulate their emotional responses, lingering imagery, and any lingering questions sparked by the performances. Additionally, the forms offered an opportunity for audience members to provide insights that would offer the performance companies valuable feedback on how their work was received and interpreted by the audience. This thoughtful inclusion of audience feedback further highlighted Presenting Denver’s commitment to fostering dialogue and connection between performers and audience members.

The night’s performance starts with a solo drummer, creating intriguing rhythms while still being solo on the floor. In the dark, the first dancer steps on stage. As a silhouette, she glides in synchronization with the beat of the drums, seamlessly merging with its rhythm. The drums inform the movements and vice versa. The audience applauds and cheers loudly when the spotlight finally turns on and reveals the dancer.

After her, a whole group of five enters the stage. In the section “I Don’t Know but I Been Told, If You Keep on Dancin’ You Never Grow Old” the audience laughs inspired by the lines as well as the moves, which really do not leave any doubts of becoming old when continuing dancing. Chorus and individual voices take turns in a similarly fluid way as the dancers switch between iconic solo performances and synchronous group dances. Especially energetic are the rapid dashes in diagonal directions across the stage, each combining distinct running and dancing techniques.

After intermission, the set design has changed. I find myself in an imagined house underwater, including illuminated door- and window frames, which are sophisticatedly used to highlight individual artists when dancing and speaking. The whole group is constantly on stage and reacts to the live music. In addition to the drums, I now also hear guitar and a live singer on stage, creating a tense atmosphere with her words and melodies.

Even beyond their performances, Urban Bush Women are highly active. Within their ongoing programs including the Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), BOLD (Builders, Organizers & Leaders through Dance) and the Choreographic Center Initiative they have an impressive impact in the field. While in Denver, in addition to performing and taking part in the aforementioned discussion, they also toured local schools, helping youth to find and express their identities through Performing Arts.

The sticks bounce slower, the dancer’s movements come to a hold. The transition into the next scene, in which pairs of women perform children’s clapping games, is organic, and the audience gets soaked into the tension created by the storytelling on stage for the rest of the performance.


Patrice Harris is a new writer for Presenting Denver. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Patrice’s passion for the arts started at a young age. She participated in various forms of art, including theater, piano, and visual art.
Patrice attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science, and Psychology. During her time at university, she continued to explore her passion for the arts by participating in various creative programs and events.
After graduation, Patrice began working as a Resident Services Coordinator at Mercy Housing, where she supported and empowered residents in need of services and resources. There she connected residents to dance with workshops from Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.
In 2022, Patrice began working at WellPower, where she coordinates facility improvements and engages in community relations. In her free time, Patrice continues to write dance reviews and explore her love for the arts.