And scene: up-tempo, heavy drum roll and a cello – the makings of a good night! But, wait, I am here for a dance performance, and I have a live band before me (ian cooke), the magnificent dancers of Wonderbound and the eloquent words of Michael J. Henry? What kind of Denver dance icon came up with this collaboration at the Performing Arts Complex, Pinnacle Charter School? Garrett Ammon, artistic director of Wonderbound is the acclaimed choreographer/visionary to thank.
The last show of Wonderbound’s season, Gone West, invigorates the senses. A pastiche of Shakespeare’sThe Tempest meets a KOA Kampground, the concert/play/dance performance/poetry reading leads the audience through a two-act journey of character study and social commentary.
With nods to gun regulation, homosexuality, vanity and the myriad stories of Americana, the negative space and memory in breath leave you wanting to meet your neighbor and take a drive to the closest campground.
A visual tempest, the multi-modal display with lights dropping across the screen like a waterfall and dancers eloquent in form leaping and lifting from the ground compel you to recognize mortality and politics. The physical interplay of bodies and forms with flexed feet and fluttered hand movements keep you anxious yet poised.
The eleven dancers each encompass his/her character to the fullest and actually look like they are enjoying themselves. I would argue each dancer truly enjoys his/her role and purpose. That kind of visceral emotion makes you enjoy the performance so much more.
For those needing direction or the ability to follow along, the program for the show includes a separate book of Michael J. Henry’s poetry as an added bonus. And to steal from him: everything is connected, especially here/ where our story unfolds. It is a world/ inside a world inside a world, and so on.
Anyone looking to experience Denver’s artistic talents would be remiss in not buying tickets to see this show April 12th or 13th. Should your dance card be full, there will be more on the horizon. The 2014-2015 Season will include: Enduring Grace with the Colorado Symphony, October 18-26; Marie with Baroque Chamber Orchestra, February 14-22; and Boomtown: Tales from the River Valley with Chimney Choir, April 17-19. Don’t wait out the storm, buy some tickets and go see Wonderbound’s brave new world!
W. Celeste Davis Stragand: Published author, showcased artist and local Denverite, W. Celeste Davis Stragand is not new to the art world. Her passion for delving into the root of existence and movement will challenge and praise both choreographers and the audience. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Celeste holds two bachelor of arts degrees, one in Chemistry and the other in English. She is also a graduate of Naropa University holding a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing and Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. A former national slam team poet, Celeste is a graduate of the Downtown Denver Partnership Leadership Program and sits on the American Institute of Architects Colorado board. Her passion and enthusiasm for the kinetic arts will frolic and frenzy through the upcoming season of performances with many hopes for an encore!