A Community “Convergence” at a Crossroads

A Community “Convergence” at a Crossroads
November 18, 2015 Soma Feldmar
Photo credit to Adam Riggs of AR Pictures. Images courtesy of Life-Art Dance Ensemble.

Photo credit to Adam Riggs of AR Pictures. Images courtesy of Life-Art Dance Ensemble.

Convergence was an evening of local community dance hosted by Life/Art Dance Ensemble at the Crossroads Theater, in Denver, CO. The show ran for two days, November 13-14, with three performances, including three dance companies and ten different local choreographers. Before the dancing began, a woman introduced the evening. She told us the show was called “Convergence” because they decided rather than a collaboration, working together on one piece, they wanted a different shape and form. Each piece was created individually and then, the night before opening night, they came together, converged, on one stage and created a show out of the pieces. The spirit behind Life/Art Dance Ensemble’s idea was to give multiple choreographers a chance to show their work by creating a show together, so no one would have to go it alone. Joining Life/Art Dance Ensemble was Park Hill Dance Collective and Sheila Klein & Company. It was truly community dance.

The senses of accomplishment, joy, and celebration were clearly in the air on Saturday evening, the final performance, and the night I saw the show. In general, the choreography and dancing was expressive, artistic, and inventive, with some surprising displays of technique and unexpected clown-like comedy. Every dancer clearly loved being on stage dancing, and they were, I would hope, all proud of the show they created together

11-15-15 Photo credit to Adam Riggs of AR Pictures.  Images courtesy of Life-Art Dance Ensemble. -2

Photo credit to Adam Riggs of AR Pictures. Images courtesy of Life-Art Dance Ensemble.

Each of the ten dances was choreographed by a member of one of the companies, and Life/Art Dance Ensemble opened and closed the evening. Most of their pieces were contemporary in style, employing both small group work and more individualized movements. Each piece was quite unique, however, in the emotions and experiences the choreographer used the human body/bodies to express. The first piece explored vulnerability, tenderness, and awkwardness (Jessica Riggs), the second one, a sense of release, awareness, and transformation (Summer Templin Culp). The third piece went into the repetitive yet necessary movements of memory, loss, absence, and presence (Karleen Quackenbush), and the fourth felt like an homage to the tight, frenzied emotional twisters we all fall into now and again (Ariel Holcomb). Their fifth piece was a surprising burst of color, energy, and hip-hopping princesses (Liz Walker-Kreutziger), and they closed the show with a dreamy yet spritely romp through the stars (Michelle Bernier).

Park Hill Dance Collective shared three dances, and overall feels a bit more traditional and conservative in its style than Life/Art Dance Ensemble, but it’s hard to really know, only seeing these three pieces. The first piece (Emily Hoch) looked at aspects of interpersonal relationships, focusing both on the temporariness of many of them and the surrender, trust, and support required for each one. Their second piece was a solo danced and choreographed by Mary A. Chase Doll, representing, perhaps, a courageous and transformational journey. Their final piece was a brilliant display of classical ballet technique and strength (Karlyn Griswold) for both the male and female dancer in each couple. They went from pose to pose and lift to lift, as though rare tropical birds were posing for a camera.

The most surprising dance of the night, for me, from Sheila Klein of Sheila Klein & Company,came right before the final number. It was edgy, quirky, and hilarious right from the beginning, and although it started kind of small, by the end of the number, I felt like I was at a ginormous rally for the U.S. of A. and wasn’t quite sure how I got there. It was an amusing hodge-podge of physical comedy, contemporary dance, a sort of clown / buffoon humor, and pure joy. After the show, I left the small black-box theater wondering what had just happened. I’m so used to the higher production, showy, shiny, aspects of big professional dance shows, that seeing such a pure, simple, down to earth, joyous celebration of normal people dancing kind of threw me. And I liked it, I liked it a lot. Join me in keeping an eye out for future performances from Life/Art Dance Ensemble here.


Soma Feldmar: Soma Feldmar received her MFA from Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School, and is now working on her PhD in English from SUNY Buffalo, with a focus on poetics. Other, her first book of poetry, was published in 2009 from Capilano University Editions (CUE Books). Soma’s work has also appeared in various online and print journals. Her doctoral dissertation is on poet Robin Blaser and how his work brings the poetic and the ethical together, remaining open to the other and the unknown. Originally from Vancouver, BC, Soma recently relocated to Denver, CO, after five and half years in Buffalo, NY. Overjoyed to be back in Colorado, she has started her own business, Seamoon Editing Services and joined the writing team of Presenting Denver. As a former ballet, jazz, and modern dance student, Soma looks forward to more opportunities to combine her love of dance and her love of writing.

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