UB student fuses creative forces in dance and photography networking event

Fusion networking event makes a statement in its second year


Nicole Rossi took pictures of dancers as they balanced in small spaces between delivery boxes and twisted their bodies in front of aged windows.

Rossi, a senior communication major, asked dancers to model in grungy manners, hoping to convey an “unconventional definition of beauty” with her pictures.

Rossi, along with 30 other students, gathered for Fusion: UB Dance and Photography in the Center for the Arts main lobby on Saturday, taking part in the afternoon-long networking event. After chatting with one another, photographers paired up with dancers and models. The groups then ventured off through North Campus and the city of Buffalo, taking pictures of dancers and models.

Some students used this event as an opportunity to express their creativity.

“That’s what I wanted from the dancers here – displaying your body in a way that it could be beautiful, but disturbing in a way. You want to see pointed toes and beautiful curvatures in the body,” Rossi said. “When you contort the body in a way that’s sort of not seen very often, it catches your eye and draws you in.”

Deja Stevens, a senior dance major, started the event last year as a networking opportunity.

“The goal for Fusion is to get together as many different artists to have a photo shoot for fun, to network and to get to know each other for relationships to be built,” she said.

Stevens said she didn’t realize just how amazing the photos taken during last year’s event would turn out.

“The most exciting thing about last year’s event was the surprise,” Stevens said. “Nobody knew how well the event would turn about to be, how well photos would be and that [participants] would just fall in love with their photographers.”

The surprise worked in Fusion’s favor this year, attracting new students to the event to take pictures or otherwise model for photographers. Ginger Page, a sophomore dance and business major, missed the event last year but was inspired to get involved this year.

“I came here today because of the passion that Deja has for [Fusion],” Page said. “Since this year is Buffalo themed and I’m a Buffalo native, I really wanted to show my Buffalo pride by coming here.”

Photographers, dancers and models also traveled to Allentown and the Tri-Main Center off Jewett Avenue.

“I’ve never taken a photo shoot downtown,” Page said. “I’ve taken pictures by the Albright-Knox area but I really wanted to get the city feel since the city is evolving and becoming much better.”

While some were influenced to attend Fusion for the first time, other students like Laura Nasca were familiar with Stevens’ event.

Nasca, a senior dance and graphic design major, was only involved in the photography aspect of last year’s event. This year, she not only shot dancers posing on top of desks in Baird Hall and balancing between bookcases in Lockwood Library, but also modeled herself in one of the Tri-Main Center’s abandoned, spacy rooms.

“I did the shoot last year and I was just taking pictures,” Nasca said. “This year, I decided to dance and take pictures, doing a little bit of both. It’s always fun because you get to be on both sides of the lens.”

Nasca thought carpooling with fellow students to downtown Buffalo was one of the best experiences from the show.

“We learned from [last year’s event] what we wanted to do differently and to do additionally. That’s why we winded up heading downtown,” Nasca said. “We wanted to check out some new spots off campus, to explore and to get a different artistic vibe from the city where we live in order to create our pieces.”

Students utilized natural light, staircases and tight window spaces while in different locations, such as the Tri-Main Center.

“When you get to a warehouse like [Tri-Main’s], it’s the perfect opportunity to get down and dirty with the dancers,” Rossi said. “It has them showcase the raw, human qualities that are also sort of beautiful but mysterious and dark at the same time.”

Stevens was happy with the turnout for the event and said she hopes to make a long-lasting impact at UB.

“To see everyone dig into their creativity is all that you would hope for,” Stevens said. “To see things come to life is exciting.”

Benjamin Blanchet is an arts staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com