Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Tijuana-based Dance Company Partners with SDSU

Tijuana-based Dance Company Partners with SDSU

Lux Boreal Contemporary Dance and the School of Music and Dance collaborate for multicultural dance education

Dance students in the SDSU School of Music and Dance received a unique opportunity to work with choreographers from Lux Boreal Contemporary Dance in fall 2016, and will perform their work March 17 - 19, 2017.

Lux Boreal was founded in 2002 by Ángel Arámbula and Henry Torres while attending school in Mexico. What originally started as a project between the two dancers became the basis for their company. They have expanded to include 10 members and countless contributors as they travel to collaborate with other dancers as part of a binational artistic movement strengthening ties between creative communities.

Ties to SDSU

Lux Boreal’s connection to SDSU dates back to Professor Emeritus George Willis’ time as the director of the SDSU dance department in the early 2000’s. Willis always expressed interest in joining SDSU dancers with the binational dance movement in Tijuana.
Years later, Lux Boreal members performed and toured with Associate Professor of Dance Joe Alter and Assistant Professor of Dance Jess Humphrey across California and Baja California.

“We did a lot of shows together and got to know them as choreographers, and later as professors,” Torres said. “They’ve even come and taught classes in Tijuana with us, so this relationship has been coming together for a long time.”

Professor of Dance Leslie Seiters has also collaborated with Lux Boreal. “We have been in conversation about how to pick up this connection for several years, and finally saw an opportunity to have them teach technique classes and make work with our students this fall semester,” Seiters said.

Binational movement on campus

Matthew Armstrong, a Lux Boreal choreographer and dancer, teaches movement, technique, and contemporary classes.

Armstrong has relished the opportunity to redefine dance styles with SDSU students. “The idea of contemporary dance in Mexico right now is very different from contemporary dance in San Diego,” Armstrong said. “In San Diego there’s a lot of ‘virtuous’ dancing with an emphasis on lines and the beauty of it, whereas in Tijuana the focus right now is really on just trying to get a raw emotion.”

Armstrong is also impressed with the students’ openness to learn unfamiliar styles of dance. “It’s really nice to come into a group of students who have a technical background and are open to the idea of inviting something new into their bodies and what they think of contemporary dance,” he said. “Overall that is really going to help them in the future in terms of versatility and adaption.”

Torres reflected Armstrong’s excitement to work with students, especially the challenge it poses to Lux Boreal as a company.

“Even though our company members have researched dance movements and creation and know how to teach it, when we came here we needed to understand the culture of the body that SDSU students have,” Torres said. “The cultural barrier is there, but it was very nice to see how it was dissolving and to see how they figured out the little mechanisms of our style as time went on.”
Seiters believes students have learned more than just movement from the choreographers. “Lux Boreal is an inspiring example for the students because they are both an art and work family,” Seiters said. “The warmth and gratitude that accompanies their professional rigor is palpable for students.”

SDSU’s University Dance Company will perform their collaborative piece by Lux Boreal, along with faculty works directed by Joseph Alter, Jess Humphrey, on March 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m., and March 19 at 2:00 p.m. in the Dance Studio Theatre (ENS 200). The evening includes three distinct dances exploring concepts and principles from physics, body memory, and a few versions of the song (and the story behind) Hey Jude by The Beatles. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for seniors, active military and SDSU affiliates and $10 for college students. Tickets can be purchased at

To learn more about Lux Boreal, please visit

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