Saturday, April 25, 2020



"New Moon" by Luisa A. Igloria, Danced by Joel Casanova
(ODU MFA program's Writers in Community outreach for April NaPoMo and BeatHunter Dance Program, 2020)

This project is available online at YOUTUBE.

I've been blessed to have the opportunity to read poems and have that reading be the "music" by which contemporary dancers performed. These all were live readings/performances. Through no fault of the dancers -- who were all brilliant in my non-biased opinion -- the performances disappointed me in that I felt the poems could not get sufficient attention. It may have been that the visuals of the dance overcame the words in the poem struggling to not just be heard but be comprehended. But my experience make me all the more appreciative of the joint poetry-reading/dance collaboration between Luisa A. Igloria and Joel Casanova.


I found Igloria's and Casanova's project very effective--I believe it has to do with the split screen presentation such that one can see the dance but also focus on Igloria's reading of the poem. That is, one can hear and comprehend the poem without dilution from the compelling dance--an effect I'm not sure I mustered with the live performances. It certainly helps, too, that a presentation like this allows for repeat viewings so that one can go over details one might have missed live. There must be a reason, after all, why a work should utilize the online format besides that we're in pandemic lockdown.

Also, was there a "set designer" to this piece? Because I also felt the palate -- the muted colors and matching black outfits -- served to emphasize dance and poem in a strengthening way. Relatedly, I even thought that if that's their natural hair colors, I'm glad they matched :)  Plus, I adore the blackboard or whiteboard with marker on the wall behind the dancer--it seems fitting for emphasizing the written word as the source for music.

So while this performance raised my uncomfortable memory of how/when I once trafficked with contemporary dance, I'm also grateful for the beauty of this performance ... and teaching me how one can approach such a collaboration again in the future. Of course, Igloria's poem and Casanova's art individually deserve appreciation.

Kudos to Luisa A. Igloria and Joel Casanova!


Joel Casanova also dances well to a poem "Poem in Status Updates from My Imaginary Facebook Account" by Gabriela Igloria HERE. ODU's Writers in Community series has been coordinated by MFA graduate student Lili Lhouzi Nizankiewicz.


Eileen R. Tabios has released about 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in ten countries and cyberspace. Most recently, she released a short story collection,PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora and a poetry collection, The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku: Selected Tercets 1996-2019. Her award-winning body of work includes invention of the hay(na)ku, a 21st century diasporic poetic form as well as a first poetry book, Beyond Life Sentences, which received the Philippines’ National Book Award for Poetry. Translated into ten languages, she also has edited, co-edited or conceptualized 15 anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays. Her writing and editing works have received recognition through awards, grants and residencies. More information is available at

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