Friday, December 6, 2013

John's Dance Performance Review: A+

Dear Diary,

John is performing in some dance shows tonight at 8pm and tomorrow at 2 and 8 pm.  He let me sit in on the dress rehearsal Wednesday night and I really enjoyed it!

I went to the Claire Trevor Dance theater and stood in line while everyone was seated. It was a different crowd then I see on this side of campus, some people even smelled nice. Nobody knew what an electron was. A brave few were wearing short shorts (which was confusing because I was cold* in a jacket).

The actual performance is divvied up into separate pieces with a subset of the dancers.  The first seemed to be an exercise in direction.  Performers are often given directions in terms of moving spatially on the stage (to stage left or stage right or upstage or downstage), but the opening piece seemed to dabble in coordinating in stage time having performers all offset themselves temporally like the instrument tracks on The Beatles' Blue Jay Way.

If the first piece represents a spread of a individual performers circulating around a central theme, the second piece is more centrally focused on placing a performer either individually or with an ensemble of other performs in that central theme and letting the ensemble push them to a very intense peak...or just letting the dancers patience and hard work communicate.

One of the most articulate, poignant pieces of dance I have seen appears here.  I will let the performance speak for itself, but needless to say it's worth paying close attention to it. You'll know which one I'm talking about.

The pieces cover a broad range of thematic elements from very precise personifications of out of body concepts (growth, delicacy, etc.) to more abstract communications through dance.  John finally appears where a trio of handsome, super toned dudes is required, so it's an obvious fit.  This pieces seemed to be an ode to the sort of power from the human personality and body that peppers lots of Greek mythology.  This was one of many times that I really noticed the lighting playing a perfectly natural role in the dancer's performance, but really every piece seems tuned in both costume, lighting, and smoke machines.

One piece in act two in particular was a delight. It managed to enlarge my perception of the stage spatially.  Dancers in the piece that I'm talking about are constantly exchanging themselves over a relatively small area;  I imagine the piece has the same effect as a school of fish would on a predator and pleasantly forced my focus on the wide variety of dances everywhere.  This might be construed as a slight against the performance, but it's not. Instead, it's a very effective technique that the dancers performed well.

I would caution that this might have something to do with where I was sitting (meaning, the middle and slightly stage right).  In retrospect, I would have like to have sat at the back for the first act since a lot of the performances stack the players from front to back on the stage and I may have missed the back end players.  However, the second act lends itself to a seat that it right up front to catch the textural interchanging that I've been talking about.  It might be worth thinking about that briefly before you head to the performance.

John returns for another piece that surely required an acrobatically intense training. I don't want to spoil anything, but it's good.

The final piece seemingly returns to the adventures in stage time that were present in the first piece and here the lighting almost acts like another performer.  I thought I caught thematic threads from all the previous pieces sewn up nicely in this ultimate piece.  Even the lighting plays a powerful role in this last piece; the performers artistically threw themselves and the kitchen sink in this one to cap off a great show.  The director keeps the surprises coming frequently with strength.  You might even want to go twice.



Guest written by John.

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