The inaugural Hear Here Festival at Keshet Center for the Arts gave its single performance on June 1, bringing together the collaborators to show their final works to a large, appreciative audience.

Collaborators were chosen from among applicants for this two-week round of collaboration among dance artists, poets and musicians who had never met before this process, and whose rehearsal sessions were open to the public. The culminating events were the performances of these original works, fresh from the studio.

We were treated to “Prescription,” combining dance, poetry and ambient music, and starring a white balloon. “Love De-Constructed” was poetry and a dance that became a heated conversation between lovers. With suspended silks and a musical trio, “Hold and Seek” was a moving piece on motherhood and migration. All three pieces were professionally presented by their creators (and friends) in full production.

The helium-inflated white balloon of “Prescription” miraculously survived although it, too, danced and was danced with. Clever and evocative choreography and dancing by Sonia Bologa told the story of a woman who has perhaps lost her way, and is led back by her younger self (Lauren Coons). Bologa and Coons collaborated with Sabine Shannon on music and poetry. Some of the music was more sound effect than tune, such as the cunning use of an accordion to sound like an empty breeze.

Choreographed and danced by Alicia C. Dellimore, “Love De-Constructed” began with a poem by her collaborator Manny González, former Albuquerque poet laureate, called “I know this.” “I love you,” he repeated, sometimes beseeching, sometimes angry. Dellimore takes him to task by asking him to explain that love in the face of her remonstrations. Dellimore’s powerful dance was rendered exquisite by the counterpoint of shouts and pleas between the lovers. Two more poems by González—“I Am Lonely” and “One Love”—took us through the truths of this relationship and showed us that love can mean many things. González’s passionate delivery matched Dellimore’s ardent perfection. I want to see more by these two, together.

Romy Keegan choreographed and danced (with Maya-Rae Montana and Gigi Townsend) her work “Hold and Seek.” On the surface, this is a mother-and-daughter story as depicted by Keegan and Montana, but its creator’s notes instruct us to think of it in terms of the vulnerability of migrant families. From that point of view, the piece is even more poignant, especially when mother and daughter are separated. Composer Elizabeth Capra created the music for “Hold and Seek” and performs it on piano accompanied by Elias McEntire (violin) and Keely Mackey (cello). Keegan’s dancing is expansive and lovely, and well supported by Montana and Townsend. When the suspended silks were employed by the nimble Montana, you could have heard a pin drop in the large auditorium.

Collaborators in the Hear Here Festival, along with a $1,000 stipend, receive 12 months of business development support from the Keshet Ideas + Innovation Community. Funding was supplemented by the City of Albuquerque Cultural Services Department and Economic Development Department.

Look for our interviews with the collaborators about how they created the works at on Monday, June 10.

—Stephanie Hainsfurther publishes

Photos by Pat Berrett.