Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dance Project Fall 2013

Last Sunday I ventured out to Friendship Heights to visit Joy of Motion for the first time and experience their annual fall showcase, Dance Project.  Nestled in the modest black-box/studio space known as The Jack Guidone Theater, Dance Project featured 13 different choreographers of various styles and talents.

What brought me to the showcase was a particular modern choreographer and a curiosity about the others.  What made me keep my butt in the hard, metal chair was not the level of dancing but the sheer breadth of styles represented.  

As a die-hard contemporary artist with all sorts of flatulent, idealistic notions about "pushing the art form forward" and only displaying "honest and necessary movement", I was slightly horrified by the contest atmosphere set up by Joy of Motion.  Each choreographer was competing for 100 hours of free studio time and 50% off theatre rental (good things).  Winners were to be determined by audience vote (hmmmm, okay, not unheard of in this day-in-age).  But I do not attend competitions, I attend concerts (can you imagine my nose in the air?).

Okay, I could go on about how "the air of competition cheapens an event and audience experience by pitting choreographers against each other who should be collaborating to grow audiences for this least valued of art forms" and how it "damages the quality of piece chosen by the each choreographer" and "throws the audience off track in how they should be viewing and assessing/not assessing live art forms."  Yes, I'm quoting the blog I'm itching but don't have time to write because I have papers to grade...

So I'll say this:
The first part of the concert got off to a rocky start with a mixed bag of styles that did not complement each other.  There were also missing pieces (2-3 choreographers who elected only to perform Saturday night) and a haphazard mentioning of this fact that left about 30 people sitting around for an overly long intermission because they didn't realize that the choreographer listed wasn't about to perform and we were indeed in intermission.  No announcement, no change in lights...nothing.  I suggested someone announce this, but they were more comfortable having 5-8 individuals ask independently of each other and convey the message piece-meal to their friends and family.

I ain't mad at cha, I just want to know when I can pee.

Anyhow, there was also the perennial family members and friends leaving as their groups concluded performing even though 2/3rds of the concert was not yet complete.  Hooo, boy.  If you were my acquaintance, we'd have a talk about theater etiquette.  I could talk about how this is related to the competition nature of the event, but I digress...

(All of this speaks to the casualness and comfort which people obviously feel with the establishment and the concert itself.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but again, can you picture my concert-going nose in the air?  Just have a chuckle with me.  I'm trying to unwind my tightly-wound sense of decorum here...)

Then the concert really took off and the energy noticeably picked up.  Obviously chosen to perform further down the line-up for their polish and seniority, mentionable groups included RebollarDance and their gritty and ever-so-subtle tongue-in-cheek excerpt of GoodHurt, Delicious Lawn Gnomes and their highly polished mixture of street dance styles and comedy routine, and Piernas Locas Project for their palpable energy and engaging hardcore rap and hip hop styles.

Take-away, I would definitely check this concert out again to keep in touch with the companies that aren't in my normal air-nose concert circuit, but I'd definitely have to have a glass of wine before-hand so I don't mind all the casual comings and goings of this popular event.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

November D.C. Area Dance Performances

November Dance in D.C. and Surrounding Areas

Joy of Motion
Dance Project Fall 2013 
Nov 9-10 (Sat. 8:30pm, Sun. 7pm) in D.C. at The Jack Guidone Theater

Dance Project is an annual choreography showcase of the best local dance companies. JOMDC created the Dance Project series in order to give rising artists a performance platform. This concert will feature the Audience Favorite Award, where the audience votes for their favorite performance. The winner will receive a handsome package including 100 hours of free rehearsal space or a 50% off theater rental at the Jack Guidone Theater. Don't miss the opportunity to give a local dance company a chance to RISE!”

Performances by:
Nate Bond
Dayo N Dance
Delicious Lawn Gnomes
Rachel Leigh Dolan
Kaution Dance Kru
LoBrace Dance Works
Kjerstin Lysne
Casey Maliszewski
Motion X Dance DC
Piernas Locas Project
The SAPAN Institute (performing Saturday only)

The Collective
The Collective and ClancyWorks in Concert
November 16-17, (Sat. 8pm, Sun. 3pm) in Baltimore at The Theatre Project

“This concert highlights the rich history of collaboration between ClancyWorks Dance Company and The Collective as well as both companies' continuing mission to engage the community and ultimately use dance as a catalyst for social change. By returning to Theatre Project for the third consecutive season in a shared performance, both The Collective and ClancyWorks have committed to presenting new, relevant work that is both accessible and engaging. The Collective will present new work from their current season's repetoire as well as share the stage with The Community Project 2013, featuring dancers culminating a six-week rehearsal process as community members learning a modern dance work.” 

The Kennedy Center
The Suzanne Farrell Ballet 
Nov. 6-10 in D.C. at The Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre

“As ‘one of the most courageous projects in ballet today’ (The New York Times), the Kennedy Center's own The Suzanne Farrell Ballet--led by Balanchine's famed muse--returns with two mixed repertory programs.”

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty - New Adventures
Nov. 12-17th in D.C. at The Kennedy Center’s Opera House

“Renowned British choreographer Matthew Bourne returns with his latest re-imagining of a ballet classic. Danced by his company, this haunting new production is a gothic romance; a supernatural love story that even the passage of time cannot hinder.”

Dances Made To Order
Featuring three D.C. dance artists including Erica Rebollar, Boris Willis and Iliana Silverstein 
Nov. 13, online

Every month, YOU choose the inspiration then sit back as three artists rise to the challenge of creating dance films in just three weeks!
As soon as the films are ready, we put them online for your instant viewing pleasure. It's super convenient and affordable art you
don't even need to leave the couch to enjoy.”

Dance Exchange
Master Class with Laura Peterson
Nov 14, 6-7:30pm in M.D. at Dance Exchange

“Dance Exchange is thrilled to offer yet another master class this month! This time we’ll be moving with the immensely talented Laura Peterson, Artistic Director of Laura Peterson Choreography based in NYC. This master class kicks off an exciting collaboration between Dance Exchange and the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center Millennium Stage, where Laura will be showing her work \'Forever\' on Friday, November 15 at 6 pm. Throughout the season, the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center Millennium Stage and Dance Exchange will work together to bring some exciting master class opportunities with artists from around the country into our community.”

Laura Peterson Choreography 
Nov. 15, 6pm live broadcast

Information is scarce, but here ya go:

Dance Meets Theatre - DX & Single Carrot Theatre’s worshop on Devised Work
Nov. 21, 7-9pm in MD at Dance Exchange

“Dance Exchange has a long history of working with Theater companies to create more meaningful work on stage and in the community. This season, we are partnering with our Baltimore-based theater friends of Single Carrot Theater to host a series of tool sharing workshops, as well as this HOME series evening of discussions on how to create effective and evocative devised theater work that incorporates choreography.”

Dance Place
City Rhythms Festival
Nov 23-24 (Sat. 8pm, Sun. 4pm) in D.C. at The Atlas Performing Arts Center

"Feel the driving heartbeat of DC as we bring together the area’s foremost rhythmic dance troupes. Dance Place resident company Coyaba Dance Theater presents their Female Drum Ensemble alongside hip-hop artists Culture Shock and Baakari Wilder’s tap dancers. Shuffle and sway with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble and their signature Americana style. Then pump up the volume as the internationally celebrated Step Afrika! takes the stage with rapid-fire, precision stepping and electrifying energy."

Contact me if you would like your event included in December's listing