Texture Contemporary Ballet’s latest performance, “Strength & Grace” beautifully echoed the words in the title through movement during the entirety of the performance. Each piece that I saw performed on the New Hazlett Theater’s stage drew me in because of the perfected balance between strength and grace I saw in each and every dancer.
The performance was made up of three sections with multiple pieces in each section. The first section, “Inner Division of Existence” exhibited a rather visually striking and accurate depiction of what it is like to exist both as an individual and a part of a group. There were a few aspects of this piece that strongly stood out to me. First of all, I witnessed some truly amazing partner work, which was both choreographed and executed perfectly. The ability of the dancers to not only move fluidly, but move fluidlytogether was what really made this piece effective in my eyes. When a mover can put his or her weight into another while still keeping a sense of grace and weightlessness, this is when you know they are truly in tune with the dance they are dancing.
The way I saw these dancers working together truly impressed me. Not only did I appreciate how the dancers worked with each other, but I also think the way they worked with the floor added an important dynamic to the piece. The floor work in the choreography incorporated a sense of being grounded, especially because the dancers worked with the floor in such a committed way. There was a perfect balance between floor work and work on other levels that created a very important dynamic of contrast. I found the word “contrast” kept coming to mind for me during the performance as a whole, which is something I really like to see in a performance… a contrast in tone and movement. The choreography showed a perfect contrast between fast and slow speeds, ensemble work and solo or duet work, and levels. Through all of these aspects of movement the piece really did show a metaphor for existence as a whole.
The second part of the show was made up of a few smaller numbers, which weren’t necessarily as connected to one another as the pieces in the first section, but still showed a direct theme of strength and grace in the movement of each piece. Through out all of these pieces I appreciated the ability I saw in each dancer to isolate parts of their body and bring focus to one aspect of themselves that maybe the audience wouldn’t haven noticed otherwise. Special shout-out to Christina Sahaida whose solo to “Hurts like Heaven” by Coldplay was so energetic and committed! She dominated the space. Each piece in this section was beautifully done. This is really a group of strong dancers.
The last section of Strength & Grace, “Forget About Home: A Photo Album of WWll” was a beautifully thought out and choreographed piece. This section was impeccable when it came to movement, and even had an amazing live singer (Krysta Bartman) to accompany the dancers. The use of silence and stillness through out this whole piece was my favorite part. Sometimes being slow or even still is the most effective way to move. The energy of the piece shifted between excited and sad, which I think is super important to keeping the audience involved. I loved it. The only thing about this piece was that I felt it could’ve been even more fleshed out and made into a show entirely its own. It was so beautiful and well done, but I felt like it didn’t go with the flow of the rest of the show somehow. I would love to see “Forget About Home: A Photo Album of WWll” done as a whole performance of it’s own.
Each dancer and every part of choreography in Strength & Grace spoke those very words to me. Not only are these dancers very talented individuals, but also very able to work together and put on a show that shows hard work, relationship, and commitment. If you didn’t catch Strength & Grace, make sure to see Texture Contemporary Ballet in the future!
Special thanks to Texture Contemporary Ballet for complimentary press tickets.
Performance Date: Friday, July 17, 2015