Why dance? Why go see dance? Why is there a performer/audience relationship, and what does it offer to each? What drives the choreographer, the costume designer, the lighting designer, the sound technician? I’ve been on the other side of the curtain, one of those pairs of quick, light feet flashing in the bit of light under the heaviest folds. Why was I there?
On Friday night while seeing Cross Purposes and Other Dances, I was a part of something beautiful, something different from everything else I knew of people and living. Maybe I felt whole, united in mind and body, for nothing less than such intense focus could generate the quality of commitment and purpose evident on the stage tonight.
Kahn’s choreography exudes vigor and joy. There is a foundation of interaction and support between dancers, and the resultant lifts and shared movements are careful, compassionate, and fluid. Sometimes the dancers move in concert, sometimes their movements occur in a staggered flurry that seems to be catching or inspired. I found the coordinated gestures to be the most compelling, as these clear individuals lent their varied talents to the same series of expressions. This was also my entry into a more holistic view of the works, as I saw an entity separate from the dancers emerge from their efforts.
Modern dance is a structured departure from ballet in its allowance of difference. Members of the Hannah Kahn Dance Company do not all have the same body type, or dance exactly the same way. All are strong and capable, but each has special strengths and abilities. The best aspect of the company’s work is the clever utilization of these differences in a symbiotic way. There is so much to enjoy, for the performer and the observer, in this wonderful respect for the individual as well as commitment to a shared project and passion.
Jane E. Werle: With artwork and writing published by Bombay Gin, Hot Whiskey Press, Wyrd Tree Press, Summer Stock, and her own imprint, Thirsty Lizard Books, Jane is a passionate proponent of creativity, self-expression, and the pursuit of elusive and meaningful beauty. A poet, educator, and longtime nanny, she works and explores with kids, challenging young minds and safeguarding young hearts. Jane graduated with an MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and has come up with no compelling reason since to move away from the lively Denver area and its admirably self-made cultural opportunities. Contact Jane with editing needs, parenting problems, and extravagant travel writing proposals.