The Self Speaks

The Self Speaks
February 16, 2016 Jane E. Werle
Photo by Matthew Polis.  Image courtesy of DAMAGEDANCE

Photo by Matthew Polis. Image courtesy of DAMAGEDANCE

The 2016 Colorado tour of DAMAGEDANCE is off to a sparkling start with a warm welcome from audiences and pre-existing local companies. On Saturday, February 6th, 2016, at 8pm at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder, pieces from the company bracketed performances by Control Group Productions, Cindy Brandle Dance Company, and BRIAH Danse. Though distinctly different from each other, the various works came together surprisingly well for “an evening of Colorado dance.” The Cindy Brandle Dance Company’s exploration of relationships and human support systems complemented DAMAGEDANCE’s considerations of how the self is created and presented. BRIAH Danse was a pure shot of thoughtful beauty, and Control Group Productions stimulated questions about perception and value.

Control Group Productions’ work featured one dancer, masked and wrapped, whose movements were writ large and powerful in shadow on the wall behind him. The audience’s eye wondered whether to watch the person or the shadow, which is where the question of value comes in. Is one more important than the other, or more real? What do they imply when considered together? Does this context enrich the movements or offer a distraction from the simple and complicated perfection/imperfection of human physical expression?

Members of the Cindy Brandle Dance Company presented a solid argument for the worth of self-expression. It is a fundamental human need as well as intrinsically communicative. Equally critical are the act and its reception: how does the expression speak to an other? I loved that the dancers seemed so aware of each other and their basic interrelationship.

Melissa May shone in BRIAH Danse’s piece, which is not easy to do, as her fellow dancers Kelsey Byrne and Cynthia Bianco are also quite accomplished. As the dancers’ movements wove across the space of the stage, I saw the bright threads of individuals and the luminous collective that they can create. I appreciated the simultaneous senses of longing and fulfillment that can come from the realization that there is more to life than one previously understood.

There really is something different about Jessica Taylor’s choreography, the company DAMAGEDANCE and its dancers. The energy is spicy and sometimes humorous, as if they take their art very seriously but themselves not so much. The work feels fresh and curious, tickling that part of my brain that thinks it’s just about to figure everything out. The color, the bodies, the questions: it all reminds the viewer that life is intense and vibrant and yours.

Many more opportunities exist for you to see and share in DAMAGEDANCE during the Colorado tour, but only for a limited time. No Denverite should miss the company’s Denver Debut at the Colorado Black Box Theater on February 20th, followed by shenanigans at The Molecule Effect! Visit www.damagedance.com for further dates and locations.


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.

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