There is nothing I love more than accompanying an artist on a journey of exploration and discovery. Sam Mitchell is a current MFA student in the Dance-Theatre program at UCSD and working with him on his piece Dee(a)r Spine has been an immense pleasure. The piece, which he developed with musician Tommy Babin was presented last week as part of WinterWorks’ 14 along with the beautiful work of his colleague Lisa J. Frank. Dee(a)r Spine is Sam’s very personal exploration and re-interpretation of the Yaqui Deer Dance. Being a Yaqui who did not grow up close to the Yaqui culture, Sam has felt a great need to explore and connect with the culture of his parents and this particular piece is a moved and moving meditation on genealogy, connection to the land, repatriation, and all that exists under our feet as we walk this earth.
Photos by Jim Carmody.