Friday, September 13, 2013

SoleVita Dance Company: MoveMeant (A Review)

Joelle Martinec presented a stellar evening of dance at the Madrid Theater in Canoga Park, entitled MoveMeant.  Martinec's company, SoleVita, consists of excellently trained dancers who perform with both conviction and accuracy.  The style of the evening can loosely be described as Contemporary Jazz, but distinct flavors existed in each piece creating diversity and entertainment for the duration of the show.  If you love high energy, accessible dance performed by a cast of beautiful bodies, SoleVita's MoveMeant is for you.  The program was a little tricky to follow in terms of how the dances were grouped and titled into themed sections (for MoveMeant) and stand alone pieces.  This left me a little confused on how to connect the pieces under the larger MoveMeant umbrella title,  But, I will do my best to describe a few highlights from this premier event:

Develop featured a potent strobe light representing a camera flash in this study of human shape, line and stopped motion.  The strobe effect is something David Parsons perfected in his solo work Caught from the 1980's. Martinec's take on the strobe played with combinations of bodies in space, sometimes unified, sometimes divergent.  The second portion of Develop, entitled Fixer to Frame, investigated the idea of an ever emerging composition of dancers in space. The bodies wrapped and slid among and through each other before pulsing through the space in rhythmic flow. The red lighting referenced a dark room as the picture emerged through the course of the dance.

Martinec took some time to comment on the various forms of romantic love in her piece All Included.  The three part piece started with a classic tale of boy meets girl.  It begins with a series of comic mishaps, head bonks, accidental slaps in the face, and untimely attempts to connect, before they manage to settle in, find each others rhythm, and fall in love.  The second part, Near Light, performed by Andrew Boyd Bechtold and Jeremy Thompson was a moving duet telling the intimate story of gay love.  This duet was well danced and emotionally honest in a way that separated itas unique from the rest of the largely playful program. The romance was so convincing that it was hard for me to later see these men as heterosexuals in later pieces in which they assumed the more traditional role of heterosexual male. Part three was a fanciful and well costumed piece performed by six females dressed in half of a men's suit and half of a white gown (very Victor/Victoria).  This playful commentary on gender and sexuality was particularly exciting from a visual standpoint as the dancers switched sides (and roles) throughout the puzzle of a dance. 

The Walk West was another multi-section portion of MoveMeant, but this time set with a very theatrical feel of 1800's American pioneers.  The first part refreshed the audience with the absence of a soundtrack or music.  The slow traveling of the cast members across the stage was a well crafted visual for the context of the piece.  The second part, called  Homestead, was the section that worked least for me in that the more conservative and gestural style of the first section gave way to some incongruent jazz styling that didn't fit for me in this early American pioneer context. However, part three, Revealed, brought me back into the historical time and place with circle barn dances that were just plain fun.  Part four, BrotherHood, was the real crown pleaser. Performed by four men, this piece was powerful, aggressive, and visually exciting. I began with a conflict between two men, and I didn't catch the resolve of conflict between two of the characters, but the piece as a whole, including horse galloping, rope throwing, and all manner of jumps and turns was a joy to watch and the audience showed its approval in rousing applause.

The show closed with Finalize This which took MoveMeant back to the home of jazz dance with its mix of cabaret, burlesque, comedy and commercial dance.  In the piece entitled Is it?, I appreciated that these beautiful women were willing to make fun of themselves and the sexuality of the classic chair dance/ strip tease.  In part two, Courtney Ozovek, played it straight and sexy in her high heeled solo pirtS. The show closed with what these dancers do best, fast paced, perfectly timed, hot commercial jazz. Men showing force in suits and ties and ladies sparkling in silver dresses, Whew! is appropriately titled.  These dancers have the stamina that is required for a life of a professional dancer.  High kicking, turning, and leaping right through to the end of the show, Finalize This was a an opportunity for these excellent dancer to show off their incredible skills and deep down love for dancing.

The show featured other works (outside of the MoveMeant theme), including an exquisitely performed solo by the captivating and spellbinding Amber Dupuy, a solemn ensemble piece choreographed by company member Chelsea Mischner, and a texture rich work featuring Kara Hess.  Overall, this show is worth your time and the ticket price.  Worth more actually.  When talking about the entertainment factor in dance: Martinec delivers.  This is a show that will make dancers want to get up and dance and dance fans leaving fully satisfied.

You have one more chance to catch the show Saturday at 8pm at the Madrid Theater.  There is no reason this show shouldn't sell out, so get your tickets now before it is too late.  You will be thoroughly entertained.

Did you see the show? Share your comments below!

For a past review of SoleVite that I year (featuring Modern Communication and 2). Click here. 

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