Jake Gerard Price, junior Arts and Humanities major, received a CREATE! Micro-Grant to create a dance film that addresses the societal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CREATE! Micro-Grant program selected 12 student projects, including Price’s, to each receive $500 to respond critically and imaginatively to events occurring during the pandemic. The winning projects are now displayed in a virtual exhibit.
For his project, Price performed a contemporary dance, titled Fractals & Folds, set to Nils Frahm’s track “Less” that explores themes of isolation, confinement, and body language.
“This piece means several things to me,” Price said. “On the outside, it dissects the emotional turmoil I and many others experienced during quarantine — isolation, uncertainty, and dread. However, on a deeper level, it reflects the importance of body language during these times.
“My inspiration for Fractals & Folds was the new normal we had to adjust to, specifically, how masks altered our daily interactions. I noticed body language playing a huge part in this new normal. It reminded me that as a dancer, I have the privilege to be fluent in body language.”
Price worked on the project for about five weeks. The choreography took about three weeks to film and two weeks to edit. Taken at multiple locations, the site-specific choreography uses dance as a mode of communicating.
“The creative process was very different than my usual procedure,” Price said. “I did not have access to a studio, so I had to make do with choreographing in my apartment living room. This directly impacted my movement as I had to choreograph in a smaller space, resulting in choreography that reflected a lack of space. Choreographing this piece offered a sense of exploration within my own living room and taught me that it is possible to explore when you are confined to one place.”
My inspiration for Fractals & Folds was the new normal we had to adjust to, specifically, how masks altered our daily interactions. I noticed body language playing a huge part in this new normal. It reminded me that as a dancer, I have the privilege to be fluent in body language.
The pandemic affected Price’s project in another way by allowing him to dance on campus with no one around.
“The entire piece is filmed on MSU’s campus,” Price said. “I wanted to capture the feeling of desolation the pandemic caused.”
Price said he has had numerous opportunities to further his dance and choreographic career while being a student at MSU. His time at MSU also has impacted his choreographic style and has influenced the trajectory of his pieces, as he is often inspired by academic works.
“My major most definitely had an impact with this piece,” he said. “Specifically, during the application process I was in a course on community engagement. This class urged me to look at communities of practice in a different perspective.”
Price currently serves as the Marketing Director for the Orchesis Dance Company, for which he manages all its social media pages and creates graphics to promote Orchesis events. He also has taught dance classes and has done choreography for Orchesis.
“I got the opportunity to choreograph for Orchesis in their Winter 2020 concert, Orenda. My piece, titled ‘slice.’ was about how the AIDS/HIV epidemic affected LGBTQ+ culture. ‘slice.’ was inspired by a research paper I wrote about the same topic. While writing the paper, I thought to myself, ‘I can say all this through movement.’ Thus, I did! This taught me that dance is an effective tool to communicate any topic. Inspiring me to discuss unconventional topics through dance.”