From Butoh to the Big Apple

Ivan Espinosa

Ivan Espinosa at Evergreen’s 2017 commencement ceremony at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.

Ivan Espinosa ’17 speaks of his experience at Evergreen with such sincerity and gratitude, one can almost hear the smile in his voice. And it’s for good reason—he was accepted to New York University (NYU) with a full scholarship for graduate studies—based largely on the artistic work he created at Evergreen.

Espinosa’s portfolio for admission to NYU included a video of a stage performance he directed and choreographed following the art of Japanese Butoh—an earthy, non-conforming style of dance which conveys the variety of human emotion, anguish, and triumph.

“I’m very grateful to Evergreen for the opportunity to stage my original productions,” Espinosa said. “I had access to a large stage, professional lighting, a group of dancers, original music composition, and the costume department. Electronic Media students captured the high-quality video footage, and that’s what I sent to NYU. It really paid off.”

Espinosa’s muse was Evergreen’s thousand-acre woods, Puget Sound beachfront, and wildlife. For Espinosa—and what is displayed beautifullyand apparently in his art—Earth takes the forefront, becoming an active participant in the choreography and dance.

“What motivates me as a theater artist is the desire to explore how we can use art— specifically performance and theater—to strengthen our relationship to Earth and to remember how interconnected we are as human beings to ecosystems,” he said.

Espinosa said he is grateful for the collaboration that took place while completing his projects. The complexity of his work made it necessary to team with a variety of students, including music composers, video editors, stage hands, costume designers, and others. “We’re already making plans to meet in New York,” he laughed.