Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Achievement Award Winner - Calista Ordas

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Achievement Award Winner - Calista Ordas - San Diego Danceworks

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Choreography and Biography by Cali:

The title of my piece, “Are U There?” is the literal question that inspired my choreography which came about six months into the Covid-19 pandemic that plagued 2020. Lockdown, though stemming from horrid circumstances, allowed me to spend more time in my room with my own thoughts. One rough evening in particular, I came to the actualization that without school, dance practice, or spending time with my peers, I really didn’t know what defined my identity. If I wasn’t just a “student” or “performer,” then who was I? This piece represented that very search for “myself.” The concept was difficult to brainstorm, but I decided to choreograph with evolving energy, starting off with very rigid, angular, and contained movement that occurred exactly on beat to demonstrate my prior fixed mindset. Then as the music builds, I decided to incorporate wider, fluid motion that juxtaposed those sharp moves. Up to the song’s powerful climax do I fully let loose and explore the compositional elements of dance; my levels change from lofty jumps to floor work, my energy transitions from direct to indirect quality, and my choreography follows the higher-pitched shrill melody in the background instead of the steady beat I had been dancing too before. It’s in that moment I get lost in the music, happily grooving and forgetting any worries— until the music stops mid-clap and I realize that “who are you?”


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