Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review: ADaPT Festival 2013, Program Jules

For a review of Saturday Night's performance, Program Arthur: Click Here.

The ADaPT Fesitval 2013 was a tri-city dance performance that started in Brooklyn and made it's way all the way over the Southern California for another week of shows.  Coordinated by Misa and Stephen Kelly of ArtBark International. This festival was one characterized by support, respect, community investment and artistic excellence.  The following is a brief overview and review of Friday night performance at Center Stage Theater in downtown Santa Barbara. 

Got Country? is a fun-loving group of young women who love to Country Line Dance. This group offers real-world dance performed by the real "girls next door." These ladies were flirty and fun as they swayed their hips side to side and sashayed across the stage. They performed the pre-show for the evening, and as such served as an effective way to get the audience involved and invested before the formal concert started. This pre-show format served as a mediator between social dance and performance work. Got Country ended with an invitation for the audience to join in and learn a dance right then and there. After a successful lesson and performance of the dance, the audience finished with a bow and returned to their seats fully invested and exhilarated for the show to come.

Entering into a world of light, color, curiosity and imagination, Anri Nakano charmed the audience in her sweet solo, Just Be Imaginative. The umbrellas transported the audience to a new world, one filled with possibility and potential, a place created half from the French film Amelie and half from an anime world. Nakano swept through the space with a childlike freedom that was refreshingly pure and innocent. She explored her world with a delicate care and playful abandon.  Nakano's movement oscillates between design driven phrases and formless swirls of circles and spirals.  One thing is for sure, at the heart of the piece is the treasure that is Anri Nakano. 

Members of Nancy Evans Dance Theater performed next in a duet called Le Gemmelle/The Twins, choreographed by company director Nancy Evans.  Seldom does a choreographer have a chance to work with two beautiful dancers who are so physically and technically matched.  Beginning in the womb, the audience witnessed the two entities emerging into separate beings, struggling with their individual identities and finally arriving at the joy that is twinship.  The unison of this piece is what made it so remarkable.  The fact that many of the movements are extremely challenging technically makes it even more impressive. These dancers were challenged with performing very demanding extensions and balances with complete equanimity and ease, and they succeeded. They were so nicely unified in their movement that I almost forgot they were not even siblings.  

Barbara Mahler's solo, entitled When She Stumbles, was a remarkable study in patience, stability, support and freedom.  There is a sense when Mahler is dancing that she performs exclusively at her own pace, in a way that is only present and only honest. She doesn't hurry to prove herself to the moment. Rather, she takes her time, easing her body into exquisite moments. She grows her body into beautiful backbends and arabesques, taking the audience on a journey of discovering space and the edges of knowing.

Noelle Andressen, director of Rubans Rouge Dance Company, performed a solo of personal transformation entitled Storm.  Andressen is a passionate performer whose continual growth has impressed me again and again.  Like the woman in her story, she seems to face adversity and overcome it with a resilience that few possess. 

4 Steps, choreographed by Robert Salas, is a deeply emotional, female trio, in which the lead dancer is separated by death and the others are forced to navigate their internal landscape of grief. Salas uses a balance between powerful athletic movement and quiet pedestrian movements to tell this story. I have seen variations of this piece before, however the modifications made for this version took this piece to a new level of storytelling.  The devastating story, now distilled, acted as a powerful adhesive, cementing the piece into a well balanced composition that moved the audience.

One World is Never Enough, created and performed by ArtBark International, is a dance theater piece  involving suitcases, newspapers, paper planes, and dachshunds (one real, one fake). The disparate nature of this piece is strung together by the environment the performers create through the placement of their props and their commitment to each moment. Of course, once the little dachshund runs across the stage and the paper planes are thrown from the audience, the audience is prepared to travel with ArtBark on any adventure. 

Pony Box Dance Theatre, presented a refined duet choreographed by director Jamie Carbetta Hammond entitled with(in).  The first and only dance work of the festival what was performed on pointe, this piece was a modern ballet performed by beautifully trained dancers.  The male resurrected the female from her cave of flowing organza fabric and lifted her up, carrying her effortless through the space until she was able to rise and fly on her own. The audience soaked in the dance with its familiar roots in ballet vocabulary. 

Festival Co-director, Misa Kelly bridged the concert dance stage with "outsider art" in her solo, Patchwork Chameleon, set to music by wheelchair bound Isa Topete. Isa's disabilities (due to chromosome deletion 1Q) keep her from communicating with words, but her love of music is clear and her piano compositions are a testament to the artist that lives in all people. The solo was aptly titled in that the design and  movement vocabulary seemed like a sampling of diverse gesture and actions patched together into a palette of images and dynamics. The final evocation of Isa in a primal screech by Kelly bridged these disparate worlds of ability and disability with a raw effort that hits the guts.

Cybil Gilbertson of NECTAR Collaborative performed a stunning solo, xYz, about loneliness and self acceptance. Gilbertson is a seasoned Santa Barbara performer who uses her height and length to her full advantage while inviting the audience into her world of personal liberation. As usual her goddess-like beauty and total down-to-earth sensibility charmed the SB audience into love once again.

It's a fact. The Raving Jaynes are officially my new favorite dance and improvisational comedy duo. Ok, so they are the first performers I have seen perform in this unique format, but, they are so good, that I am now (quite possibly) their biggest fan. They begin by taking a word suggestion from the audience. Tonight it was: blasphemy. What transpired after that involved co-creator Jamie Graham becoming broccoli, her partner in crime, Amy Larimer, wanting to taste her with butter, the two arguing about the future of vegetables and finally with Larimer choosing the life of a carrot. What is most exciting about this duo is seeing how the music and "dance" portions intersect with the more traditional improv-comedy format. These fine performers easily transition between the two practices and fuse them in such a way that it seems totally probably for broccoli to dance or a carrot to take root on stage.

The show closed with Megill & Company's cool and jazz tap dance, Stop. Listen. Dance, choreographed by yours truly, Beth Megill. While I was performing and cannot review my own performance, I do want to thank the audience for their warm reception of the dance. It seems once again that tap dance is brings people back to life driven by the sounds and rhythms.

Overall the ADaPT Festival was a huge success and a treat for the Southern California dance scene.

Did you see the show? Please post your thoughts in the comment box below. I write these review in hopes of sparking discussion, so please share your feedback with the community.  And, take a moment to follow this blog for more So Cal dance reviews.  

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