Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sylvia


On Friday April 18th, I went to the first of two performances by Red Right Return Dance Company at The Venue (511 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL.) Elise Frost was the director and she was kind enough to let me know about the world premiere performance by this new dance company. RRR was formed in the summer of 2013 by a group of like  minded artists hungry for a space to play and develop as movers and creators. Sylvia was the culmination of their work showcasing how they discovered each other as artists and humans. Sylvia is the first destination on their journey.

The mission of RRR Dance Company is to establish a platform for the development of contemporary dance in the Central Florida community. The company seeks to create risk taking works through experimentation of movement, act of play and the creation of a fearless creative space. This performance was an incredible first step. The program began with a quote from Poet Sylvia Plath, "Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all of my ideals, for all that - I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much - so very much to learn."

The line of dancers progressed slowly up the wheel chair access ramp at the back of the stage. They moved as if in a funeral procession and then the lead dancer would scuttle back in live. There was pushing and shoving in the endless procession. On stage groups of dancers would huddle together seeking solace in each other and in human contact. The groups would move like a single entity. Dancers were often off balance trusting that they would be supported by someone else. At times, couples would pair off and dance to their own embrace. There was an intimacy in the interactions. At times dancers might be face to face, forehead to forehead looking into each others eyes. One dancers spun and fell loudly repeatedly. The sound of the fall was so loud that I was concerned she might hurt herself. She rose up and flung herself into space again with no fear.

A group of dancers pushed a fellow dancer up against the rear wall of the stage and they supported here there in a Christ like pose. They kept here there the longest time looking a bit like the solders who raised the flag on Owo Jima toward the end of World War 2. The dancers formed a line down the center of the stage facing the audience. They pressed forward and the lead dancer would stare above the audiences head in horror at some terror in the distance. That dancer would try to escape to the back of the line but never without a struggle. Each dancer on turn would face the horror and struggle to escape.

Suddenly the music changes and the lights all glowed red and the dancers broke into a joyous dance of celebration and abandon. With this sudden explosion of energy, the audience applauded. Some of the dancers I recognized, like Ashley Kroft and Darci Ricciardi so as an artist I felt invested in the off balance chances that the company took. There was a raw naked abandon to the entire performance. It was exhilarating. This is the face of change in an otherwise homogeneous clean cut town.


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