Preview: ‘Same But Different’ connects the dots through dance

By Ariadne Will

Associate Professor of Dance Christal Brown (left) alongside Visiting Assistance Professor of Dance Lida Winfield
Courtesy of JHsu Media Associate Professor of Dance Christal Brown (left) alongside Visiting Assistance Professor of Dance Lida Winfield (right)

Dance professors Lida Winfield and Christal Brown explore their differences and similarities in performing “Same But Different,” a show about curiosity and friendship. The show opens on April 2 and will be followed by a Q&A with Winfield and Brown. It will be available to stream through April 9. 

“I’ve seen the power of empathy and connection in both of our lives. This show is a representation of that,” Winfield told The Campus. “The nuances of who we are is what makes up our individual lives.”

The idea for the performance — sponsored by the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts — first emerged during the Bates Dance Festival in 2016, when Brown approached Winfield.

“[Christal] is a visionary,” Winfield said. “She said, ‘I think we should make a duet that’s called ‘Same but Different’ about all the ways that we’re the same — but because of the way that we look on the outside, no one else would ever connect the dots. We should connect the dots for them.’”

The performance draws from both their shared experiences — as artists, professors and educators — and areas where they differ, including Winfield’s background as a disabled learner in a special ed classroom where she says there was a lot of “hopelessness” and Brown’s background as Black student in a predominantly white classroom.

Winfield explained how in some circumstances, she and Brown reached the same conclusions from very different experiences.  

The two have worked together for years, and the new show has brought them even closer — which Winfield says is what the show is really about: the compassion that can exist even when two people appear to be so different. Brown was unavailable for comment before press time. 

“When you spend time and energy really dancing with someone or really connecting with someone, the level of grey — the spaces in between — [is] infinite,” she said.