3rd Law Dance/Theater is even more than the already loaded name suggests. Celebrating their fifteenth season, the company is incorporating innovative musical artists into their collaborative purview. The result, at least concerning The Elision Project Vol. I, is an exciting, genre-bending evening of performance that stimulates multiple senses and challenges the expectations of a theater audience. The Elision Project runs April 1-3, 2016, at Boulder’s Dairy Arts Center’s newly revamped Gordon Gamm Theater.
The Dairy Arts Center is a pillar in the Front Range artistic community, but especially represents the exploratory openness that used to be Boulder’s raison d’être. How fitting that the Dairy host this gathering of artists that has been faithful to that ethos and enriching Boulder for (in some cases) quite some time. The artistic directors of 3rd Law, Katie Elliott and Jim LaVita, have brought into their vision Paul Fowler, chair of the Naropa University Music Program, the electronic experimentations of Gregory Taylor and Darwin Grosse (the latter is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Denver), and Zachary Carrettin, Artistic Director of the Boulder Bach Festival.
Improvisation, intersection and connection characterize the works within The Elision Project. Each artist (or duo) followed an individual offering with a collaborative piece incorporating 3rd Law dancers. Katie Elliot noted that the choreographed dances are “not about anything in particular… the dancers are containers for the ideas the musicians used in creating the scores.” Paul Fowler’s second piece, Calling, examines (in his words) “what happens in the body when we call out.”
Audible, rhythmic breathing came from the dancers as they seemed to gradually build a group from individuals, corresponding with Fowler’s construction of a vocal tapestry. I saw him as the conductor of a symphony, the members of which were his vocal expressions. The sounds of Darwin Grosse with Gregory Taylor are electronically based, but the pool of influences and inspiration from which they draw is so wide as to defy categorization. They cite “Indonesian modes and tunings (and) computer-generated structures,” which informs the listener but is not necessary to know in order to happily sink into the rich atmospheres of their works (see http://www.palaceoflights.com/?display_album_info=128).
Zachary Carrettin played three pieces, one by Bach and two of his original works. I heard curiosity, whimsy and intention in his music, as well as a deep commitment to tickling the potential of sound. Take to Light, the work created for/with 3rd Law, opened with a compelling scenic chiaroscuro (thanks to Craig Bushman, lighting designer) out of which a connected line of dancers eventually resolved. Appearing to run in slow motion, the performers did a masterful job of staying linked while individuals executed glacial jumps and graceful “stumbles.” At evening’s end, the large audience responded with a standing ovation.
For one night only, June 3, 2016, The Arvada Center presents 3rd Law Dance/Theater and Boulder Bach Festival in BACH UNCAGED, with Zachary Carrettin on electric violin and Mina Gajic on prepared piano. I would not be surprised if this much-anticipated event sells out; stay tuned to 3rd Law’s Upcoming/Tickets board (http://3rdlaw.org/) to get yours when they become available!
Jane E. Werle: At three months of age Jane E. Werle, unable to protest, was removed from Loveland, Colorado by her well-meaning parents. In 2004 she was able to rectify this error when she relocated from Massachusetts to Boulder for graduate school. One M.F.A. and a husband later, Jane works to further the arts in the Front Range as a writer (reviewer, interviewer, curator) and enthusiast (no-shame, first-on-the-floor amateur– despite some training– dancer). Jane is also a longtime nanny and a visual artist, taking one of these very seriously and the other as a growth experience. Every child she’s cared for has experienced some form of the SDP: Spontaneous Dance Party.