Thursday, May 1, 2014

Love Out Loud

I went to a tech rehearsal for "Love Out Loud" a DiDonna Productions new multi media dance performance choreographed by McClaine Timmerman. It  takes an intimate look into the world of dating, relationships, and love today. The multi-talented cast explores the struggles, opinions, feelings, hopes, fears, and doubts that we all experience at one point or another. McClaine uses an amalgam of modern dance, projection, and live music to express the topics under investigation.

Showing their commitment to original music, Timmerman and DiDonna utilize all original music throughout "Love Out Loud" including works by Scott Hall, Nigel John, a collaboration between Keifer Curtis, Aurelio Guimaraes and Jeremy Studinksi, and features original live music by Paige Keiner. Paige was at the rehearsal. She explored social media on her phone before the rehearsal started and then performed a solo acoustic piece on her guitar as the cast performed. I had never seen her perform before and I was impressed by her silky confident voice. One of her songs, "What Good is a Throne When You're All Alone?", featured an incredible dance performance with McClaine and a male dancer. McClaine was in a black night gown and the male dancer in PJ's. They danced intimately before bed but their differences and inner turmoil erupted as they performed. This wasn't a peaceful loving couple but a couple who never seemed to connect. Their bodies rippled in angst as they resigned themselves to the inevitability of being at war yet sharing the same bed. As the lights slowly faded, they lay down together and then their touching arms rose up and their fingers laced together.

McClaine accomplishes something I've never seen before. The show is part documentary, part drama and part modern dance. Interviews are projected during the performance that have people sharing their raw honest feelings about what it is like to love in a digital age.  Have the words "I love you" lost their meaning? Social media brings people together in a hive mentality and yet separates us behind computer and cell phone screens. Interpersonal, one on one conversation, is becoming a lost art form.  Is it possible to find a long term relationship while voyeristically following everyone else's relationships? Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

One dance piece had a male and female dancer circling each other as they fingered their cell phones firing off texts. The flirtatious texts were projected on the back wall of the stage. Through the whole dance they only occasionally glanced at each other. It is easy to fall in love with an illusion through text. The next couple on stage fired off an accelerated angry barrage of bitter texts at each other. They bumped into each other like football players forcefully and immaturely jockeying for dominance.

A dance number about "selfies" had all the dancers lined against the wall as they shot iPhone photos of themselves alone and in small groups. The photos were projected above them in accelerating frequency. They all arched their backs raising the phone high above them in a graceful chorus line. They pouted and puckered their lips and smiled and over acted for each shot. Any individuality became lost in the sea of self absorption. McClaine brings humor and fun to each piece while exploring raw emotions. I found myself laughing often with delight. The show offers dance with a deep personal and insightful twist.

The cast includes choreographer McClaine Timmerman, along with her troupe including Andres Avila, Alina Gavrilov, Aurelio Guimaraes, Felipe Vasques, and Nagi Wakisaka. Dancer Dion Leonhard was at the rehearsal to offer notes to McClaine. As McClaine warmed up, stretching a leg above her head, Dion said, "I'd like to have a relationship with your extension McClaine." "Whatever, you've got your own extension." McClaine fired back. I could feel the love and respect these talented performers had for each other.

Mark your calendar! "Love Out Loud" will be presented for four performances only, at the Santos Dantin Theater in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center (Loch Haven Park, Corner of 1792 and Princeton Street Orlando FL.) Performances are 8pm on Thursday May 1st, Friday May 2nd, and Saturday May 3rd, with a 2pm matinee on Sunday May 4th. Tickets are $15.00 general admission, and $10.00 student admission, and are available at the door cash only, or by reservation (will call cash only at the door) by calling 407-721-3617.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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