Boundless

20933841_1520003164724181_4169740321440382889_oBefore the sensational sensuousness of Boundless even begins, a sort of breathless anticipation imbued the spacious yet cloistered theatre at New Hazlett Theatre. The dancers, pacing about with frantic delicateness, could be sensed in the wings and un the fibers and nerves of the skeleton of the stage. Nearly inexplicably, their ineffable yet unshakeable elation to enact the evocative and narratorial movement that unfolded throughout the dance performance was palpable in such a way that it prefaced the show with profound prescience. The kinetic energy that surged before the show even began was characteristic of the unique performances throughout the show.

Boundless, produced by Texture Ballet with the collaborative efforts and insights of visiting choreographer Robert Poe—The Big Muddy Dance luminary and COCA mainstay—was put forth as a collection of dance pieces meant to challenge the conceptions of bodily conventions and expectations. As a viewer who is constantly in awe and somewhat befuddled by the majestic physical power demonstrated by dancers—particularly ballet performers—any dance staging I watch or review appears to me as a challenge to conventions of physicality. Boundless, unlike other choreographed pieces I have seen as of late, began with very little introductory verbal or spatial explanation or deconstruction. Instead, the show commenced, with melancholically vibrant accompanying music swelling into the bones of the sparsely accented stage and the dancers engaging in complex yet not distracting beautiful “entanglements” with another. Entanglements is perhaps the best way to describe the movements and physical interactions that unfold on stage. While the dancers were astonishingly talented, conducting their bodies with unreal poise and outstanding muscle precision, they encountered one another on a stage with a certain degree of entangling.  The physical movements of the dancers, seamless and exquisite, perfectly syncopated with the musical accompaniment to evoke the entanglements that we most often find ourselves ensnared in—emotional memories; fleeting thoughts that seemingly come without provocation and redirect our entire day or train of focus; echoes of past feelings for lovers or haunting spasms of old physical touches. Boundless is extraordinary in executing choreography that achingly and eerily captures the entangles we find ourselves often unable put words to.

In addition, Associate Artistic Director Kelsey Bartman’s new ballet was presented to Max Richter’s “Infra” music. Both Bartman and Poe—friends from performances past—channeled the unique, physique-esque space of the New Hazlett Theatre and the sensuous elocution of the memories and emotions that often are trapped in our subconscious.

Boundless has unfortunately closed but you can find out more about Texture Contemporary Ballet on their website.

Resounding Sound

5d4-5133-copy-2_origI didn’t know much about Texture Contemporary Ballet’s Resounding Sound before arriving at the New Hazlett Theater. I was a fill in for another writer that had fallen ill, so I only really knew the time and the place. I walked into the theater to take my seat and I was automatically intrigued. The stage was level with the ground the seats were cascaded like bleachers, knowing that was here to see a contemporary ballet performance I was thrilled, I would be able to see everything!

The show starts and the band (for lack of better words, it was simply a vocal artist accompanied by guitar) is highlighted above the stage and begins to sing, and the dancers come out and I’m instantaneously thrilled. When I was a performer myself, we had this joke that we always wanted to give our best performance especially in ensemble numbers, to truly let our personality shine through because a critic that came to review a show we had previously performed said that they were “blown away by the 3rd ensemble member from the right”. Fast forward 11 years later and I found my very own 3rd ensemble member from the right, a dance student from Point Park University named DaMond Garner. I can’t explain how or why he was so captivating, but he demanded my attention from the first second that he stepped onto the stage and I was happy to give it to him. Upon exit my girlfriend said the same thing to me, she was mesmerized. (Thank you for such a great show, DaMond)

The show itself was a unique experience for me. The band, Sacramento-based musicians, Justin Edward Keim and Vincent Randazzo, were singing songs that I was unfamiliar with but loved, very reminiscent of a John Mayer singing his own version of Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane. The dancers turned these songs into love stories that revolved around the theme “A Twist of Fate”. The performance was short, only lasting about 45 minutes with no breaks or intermissions, but they took us on such a beautiful journey in that little bit of time.

The choreography was elegant and beautiful. At times I thought the dancers were out of sync and then they came back together instantly, which honestly is genius when you consider that they were telling stories about love. Perfectly imperfect is what I would call the work that Artistic Director and Dancer Alan Obuzor prepared for Resounding Sound. If you are familiar with the work of Mia Michaels, I would highly recommend you attend anything that he has to offer to the stage in the future. Along with Assistant Artistic Director Kelsey Bartman, he delivered an extremely original and passionate performance.

Overall, I truly feel like they can separate the band from the dancing each can stand on their own as a great show.  This was an absolutely beautiful performance from Texture Contemporary Ballet, which is in their 7th season, and now that I’m aware of what they do and how well they do it I am looking forward to what they have to deliver to us next. They will return to the New Hazlett Theater September 29 – October 1 2017 for Boundless. Can’t wait to see you all there.

For more information on Texture Contemporary Ballet, check out their website here.