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Friday, December 2

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Jennifer Sandoval-Eccher has been involved in Chicago's dance community as a teacher, performer and choreographer for over a decade. She has performed with Perceptual Motion Inc., Tyego Dance Project, T.J. & Company Dance Theatre, and her choreography has been presented nationally and internationally through Thought Forms Dance, T.J. & Company Dance Theatre, Dance Chicago, Full Circle and Morrison Dance Company. Jennifer began Marquez Dance Project in the spring of 2006. (Why Marquez? "Marquez is my middle name. It came from my father's side. My grandmother's maiden name was Marquez and my father's middle name was Marquez. My father comes from an artistic family. I'm so proud of this name and where it came from and I felt it was the perfect name for my dance company.") Marquez Dance Project is a contemporary dance company that consists of six professional dancers who all come from different dance backgrounds (ballet, modern and jazz). As explained on its website, "Marquez Dance Project explores life's moments through an artistic scope. The goal of this company is to develop dance that compels the human spirit through a theatrical interpretation. Collaboration from other artistic genre facilitate in the inspiring and recapturing of these moments." Named as curator's choice for the Around the Coyote Festival, Marquez Dance Project will perform Sept. 8 & 9, 8pm at the Vittum Theatre, 1012 N. Noble. The project will then perform at the Solestance Festival on Sept. 15 & 16, 8pm, Sept. 17, 7pm, again at the Vittum Theatre. For more information on Marquez Dance Project's go to

Q: I can't help but view dance as a sort of sport. That might be a naïve observation, but if there's any truth to it, let me ask: how does dance transform athleticism into the realm of aesthetics?

Eccher: I agree that dance or any other performing art is similar to a sport based off of ensemble. Like a sports team the only way to make a play is with effort from the entire team. In creating dance you want the performers to work together, and what I mean by working together is connecting mentally and physically. There is something about seeing a dance company that is truly connected with each other. The way they move, the way they related with each other onstage and in partnering... it's beautiful! Back to your question about transforming athleticism into aesthetics: Dance is athletic in terms of body alignment, technicality and precision. However, the goal isn't to make the winning basket, score a goal or run the ball into the end zone for a touchdown... yes I have some knowledge of sports. My goal is to create something that is physically, mentally and spiritually moving. I always want to make an emotional connection with the viewer.

Q: Supposing that the movements of the human body are determined by logical choices, which have you found it easier to do through the art of dance, portray poetry or describe a narrative?

Eccher: I avoid making something too literal, so I would have to lean more towards poetry. In poetry you can be abstract in your descriptions; this definitely applies to dance as well. There are ways to express your thoughts and feelings to your audience without blatantly telling them. This is the beauty behind dance. Having the audience discover the nature of the piece on their own is fantastic.

Q: Getting back to my viewing dance as a sort of sport, do you see exercise as a purely physical necessity (i.e. a builder of stamina), or as a rough draft to the abilities of performance? Or, am I talking about one and the same thing here?

Eccher: Well, you need to stay fit if you're involved in a physical sport. This also applies to the performing arts. Our bodies are our instruments and we need to continue to hone our skills even as professionals. Every dancer should continue to take classes regardless of how technically strong they are. Class helps to maintain our strength, flexibility and body awareness this is essential, especially with the demands that are expected of a dancer.

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About the Author(s)

John Hospodka is a life-long Chicagoan, and today lives with his wife in Bridgeport. He does not profess to be an expert in anything; he's just a big fan of the arts and is eager to make more sense of them. Direct comments or suggestions for interviews to

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