Heartbreak Is a Team Effort in The BreakUp

By 
John Mirisola
September 6, 2019

An emotional two-part dance film from songwriter Luis Gamarra and choreographer Holly Wilder shows what can happen when College and Conservatory alumni join forces.

Boston Conservatory at Berklee alumni Tanner Huseman and Shelby Claire in <i>The BreakUp</i>

If you wanted to design a project to demonstrate what Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee can do when their forces combine, you couldn’t do much better than The BreakUp. The two-part video collaboration between Boston-based singer Luis Gamarra B.M. ’16 and New York dance film company Wilder Project features original music by Gamarra, audio production by Pepe Portilla B.M. ’15, choreography by Wilder Project founder Holly Wilder (B.F.A. ’15, contemporary dance), and dance performances by Shelby Claire (B.F.A. ’17, contemporary dance) and Tanner Huseman (B.F.A. ’17, contemporary dance). The second and final part of the collaboration premiered on September 6.

Together, the two videos follow a single story about the end of a relationship. Each features a dance piece set to a single from Gamarra’s forthcoming EP, Libre (“Free” in Spanish): “No Siento Más” (“I Don’t Feel It Anymore”) is part one and “En Paz” (“In Peace”) is part two.

Gamarra had long admired Wilder Project. He still remembers the deep personal impression made by one of their videos from years earlier: "I had never watched a dance video with so many tears in my eyes," he said. "They not only danced: they showed a story. Every move had a purpose and they made me believe every second of it.” This sort of emotional storytelling through movement was exactly what he wanted for The BreakUp—so he reached out to Holly Wilder.

“From the moment Luis approached me about collaborating on these videos, the focus was always on embodying the feeling and story of the two songs,” says Wilder. "I really value his commitment to the integrity of the work and appreciate how much trust I received from him to let my vision for the films lead us.”

Wilder also credits dancers Claire and Huseman for the success of the project, and for the satisfaction she took in the process: "Working with two of my dearest collaborators and fellow Conservatory alumni who performed in the films was such a joy because of their creative, generous minds and deep commitment to the work.”

“From the audio production to the music video, our team was full of College and Conservatory alumni,” says Gamarra, who sees this collaboration as a reflection of the College and Conservatory communities coming together.

The result is an arresting pair of videos, both emotionally powerful and visually striking. “I can’t be happier with...how Wilder Project brought the story of my songs to life,” says Gamarra.

Watch The BreakUp, parts one and two:

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