Shortly after getting back from Pennsylvania, I went to a performance by Yow Dance at Seminole State College of Florida. Yow dance is Orlando's "Traditional modern dance company", which sets it apart from the other dance companies in the area. The company tends to gravitate more towards dance elements that were seen in the early 20th century when Modern Dance was first founded as a rebellion against traditional ballet. Eric Yow pulls his inspiration from this era in his choreography, which often will echo the influence of the founding pioneers of Modern Dance, such as Martha Graham and Paul Taylor. He also looks to one of his favorite choreographers of present day, Mark Morris. The style of Yow Dance has been described as “classical” and “traditional” in comparison to other companies.
Throughout his career, Eric has performed with various companies around the country. Including; the Martha Graham Ensemble, David Hochoy’s Dance Kaleidoscope and Pascal Rioult. He takes stock in what he has learned and melds it with the stories he is compelled to tell through dance.
Seminole State College of Florida’s presentation of Spring Into Dance was a very special opportunity for Eric to showcase his work with Yow Dance. Seven pieces were showcased during this run of performances. They included the premieres of Summer Suite and Tango of Ember, along with a personal and moving solo performed by Eric, himself, entitled, The Fisherman. And though Yow Dance is only in the middle of its second season, audience favorites have emerged from previous performances. Compromising Raven and Tabula Rasa are back after receiving rave reviews during Yow Dance! and the Thang Dao Contemporary Dance Festival in New York City. Other new works will be performed as well that will depict Eric’s light-hearted and humorous side.
While sketching this performance, I noticed a dancer collapse in the wings. A stage hand went over to her to see if she was OK. As other dancers exited the stage they clustered around the fallen dancer to offer their support. No one in the audience could see this scene unfold, but I was up in a balcony seat which looked straight into the wings. I got an e-mail from David Mooney that night informing me that, although there was some concern, the dancer was alright.
The performances were at times light hearted and sometimes lyrical and mystical. I stopped sketching to watch the dance I had seen rehearsed several weeks ago. With the addition of strong orange lighting against the dark stage, the scene became mesmerizing. I feel so privileged to watch a performance like this develop over time.