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Breaking barriers through art: UArizona alumni shine through dance video 'Retrograde Lemonade'

UArizona alumni shine through dance video Retrograde Lemonade
Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-21 19:54:42-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A dance video sending a message about freedom, individuality and-self expression is making its rounds online.

The creativity behind it came from University of Arizona alumni.

Imagine telling a story without using any words. Could you do it?

A group of artists took on this challenge and “Retrograde Lemonade” was born.

“If you asked me two years ago if I would be making, directing a dance video I’d probably say you’re crazy,” said Nolan Veneklasen, the director of this video.

“Retrograde Lemonade is a moving emotional dance video, which explores individuality, separation, unity and self-love,” he told KGUN9.

He says the idea for the project started back in 2019. Then in 2020, he met JaVonte’ Marquez, one of the dancers in the video.

“I was walking into a general education class at the University of Arizona and I see this kid in the back and he’s got super cool style,” said Veneklasen.

“With this one, it was a happy accident,” added Marquez.

After that, Marquez was in, and Veneklasen started building the team, which also included Alejandro Olmedo, Carolyn Mckee, and Marquez’s sister Tia Newby.

“It was a learning experience for everyone,” said Veneklasen.

“I mean we had a lot of budget restrictions, obviously. It was super run and gun and I think we made it work out for like, you know, the two days that we shot,” said Olmedo, the Director of Photography.

“It was kind of hard to visually tell this story with no actual plot or words,” added Mckee, the producer and poster artist.

“We tried to take something that we could only hear and not see and turn into something that you could only see,” said Veneklasen.

So, they teamed up with Loki Moon, a local music group who created the song Retrograde Lemonade.

“Retrograde Lemonade---I didn’t understand what it was about at first,” Marquez told KGUN9.

“Me either. For sure. Like, listening to it, I was like what are they talking about, but definitely it resonates now,” added Newby.

After improvising and long hours of editing, the video finally came together and took on a new meaning.

“Now that we’re circling back to it, we can see that it was about being free in the moment. Exploring, and experiencing life for what it is,” said Marquez.

“The story outline is first finding oneself and then being able to find community,” Mckee told KGUN9.

“Retrograde Lemonade is kind of like looking back and reflecting on your own self,” said Veneklasen when thinking about the two year journey with this video.

Here’s their message for those wanting to get into the film, dance, television, and art industry.

“Practice, practice, practice,” said Olmedo.

“If you have an idea, try it,” added Mckee.

“You need to be putting your best into everything that you do and when you do, you’ll see the results that you want,” Newby told KGUN9.

“Even if you're not good at it. You’ll get good by working hard,” agreed Marquez.

Click here to watch Retrograde Lemonade.