Say It: Aura

Our Say It Q&A with Aura choreographer Emilia Sandoval covers the early-stage ideas to the choreography process. Enjoy our chat with Emilia and don’t forget to join us October 15th at 7pm CST for the launch of Aura.

Our Choreographer Q&A with Emilia Sandoval:

What have you been up to during quarantine before returning to the studio?

I’ve kept up with my family members in Sacramento through social media and Zoom and started writing handwritten letters to friends and family. Doing that has helped me get creative with the presentation. It’s so fun to hear about their reaction when they receive them! I’ve also taken various dance classes from companies and dancers around the world, trying new movement challenges and grooving with an international community connecting through dance.

As a dancer in other Say It performances, what was it like taking on the role of choreographer of your own piece?

Watching my fellow Say It choreographers create such unique pieces from different perspectives has been neat to experience. Then as a choreographer, it’s beautiful to walk in every day with a blank slate and connect with my peers so intimately, filling that slate with movement. They are all so talented to begin with, then to watch them work so hard to produce this ballet, the new textures and colors that came out of them in the process, has been amazing. They have offered me the ability to experiment and play with my ideas--I couldn’t be more grateful.

Tell us about the idea behind Aura and how the pandemic has helped shape this.

Aura is about seeing beauty in our difference and the sense of community established in those moments of vulnerability. I feel that everyone has the right to be comfortable exposing their inner selves, so I wanted to explore this idea a bit further in the context of safe spaces. It opens lines of communication on our differences. Throughout the pandemic, I felt driven to create and explore. I’m a natural mover! When given the chance to take part in Say It, I knew I wanted to say something bold. I hope it encourages viewers to question what they can do as individuals to help create communities that welcome and accept other people from all backgrounds of life.

Emilia Sandoval
I hope [Aura] encourages viewers to question what they can do as individuals to help create communities that welcome and accept other people from all backgrounds of life.

What was the most difficult part of choreographing this piece?

Truthfully, the hardest part was challenging my own doubts. I had to continue reminding myself to allow freedom for play and experimentation throughout the process. My fellow dancers and Say It choreographers were so supportive, encouraging me to be confident and proud of what we were creating together. In the end, it was a great opportunity for artistic growth.

Where is your own personal safe space?

I personally believe safe spaces can be more than just physical locations. As a triplet, whenever I am with them, I’m completely myself. It doesn’t matter where we are, I can be as silly, serious or vulnerable around them as I like. I feel like that’s something a lot of people can relate to because they have people in their lives they trust to be themselves around.