Dance behind the stage of Synapse

Synapse is a contemporary dance company featuring modern dance styles of jazz, hip hop, and ballet in an abstract approach towards the universal expression of emotions and ideas. Founded at Santa Monica College 35 years ago by the first full-time dance faculty member Linda Gold, the program invited the now co-director and choreographer, Roberta Wolin-Tupas, as a guest.

“It has been an amazing journey through the ups and downs of emotions and perspectives,” says Wolin-Tupas. “Coming to Synapse is essentially discovering different forms of modern dance. Audiences will become enthusiastic about the range of possibilities and movements.”

The dance company held arduous auditions at the start of the semester, and this weekend at the Broad Stage, Synapse will present their work to the public.

This semester, Wolin-Tupas has conducted a dance piece titled “Beneath the Surface,” based on a true story about the Chilean miners who were trapped for over two months approximately 2,000 feet underground last year.

“What they did to come to terms and exist out of what was happening to them is a miracle,” Wolin-Tupas says. “They inspired hope for the human spirit.”

Alongside full-time faculty member and choreographer Jae Lee, Wolin-Tupas’ co-directing has consisted of organizing and overseeing outside and student choreographers, as well as ensuring the quality of the dance pieces.

“It’s not just about entertaining the audience; modern dance is all about personal interpretation,” says Lee. “You are translating your intentions into your movements. There is more freedom, and it is more unexpected.”

Wolin-Tupas explains that, “Synapse and Global Motion concurrently offer opportunities to SMC students by opening avenues for them to work on a professional level. “We have not let the recent budget cuts affect our quality of education to students. Faculty members, including myself, have put in many extra hours.”

The student dancers are getting to work with choreographers who have their own dance companies and faculty members that know of prestigious contacts in the dance world.

Many of the dancers in Synapse agree that, in the world of dance, the way you present yourself can be critical.

Synapse dancer Lindsay White, says, “It’s a really fun experience. It can be very time consuming, and maybe in the middle of everything you will want to throw in the towel, or stop putting as much effort into it, especially if you are working on both Synapse and Global Motion. But in the end you have become a better dancer, and you improve your skill so much that it enables you to become successful in the field.”

Synapse will perform at the Broad Stage this Saturday and Sunday Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee premiere at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Student admission is $15, while at-the-door and general admission is $18.