REVIEW: Two by Two

An Evening of Duets presented at the Community Education Center
by Kathleen Glynn for The Dance Journal

Choreographers and dancers alike explored and demonstrated the beauty of a dance duet this past Saturday, April 18th.  Kristin A. Fieseler, Artistic Director of Annex Dance Company, organized An Evening of Duets which premiered at the Community Education Center.  The show consisted only of dance duets in order for the audience to focus on the many different types of relationships and connections established within a dance for two.  An Evening of Duets proved to be a success in portraying several ways dancers can connect to each other and the infinite amount of relationships and stories which can clearly unfold between two parties

The show opened with a piece choreographed by Rebecca Moyer, Co-Director of Vada Dance Collective.   At Odds was a fun-loving and uplifting duet which was inspired by childhood friendships, youthful energy and innocent playfulness.  Movement, costumes, music and the dancers’ focus all supported Moyer’s theme, making the work completely understandable and easy for the audience to draw parallels to one’s own memories.  The use of only two dancers helped to emphasize a sense of competitive, jesting companionship.

Kristin A. Fieseler’s duet, what lay upon the surface, was a beautiful duet which incorporated an extensive amount of weight sharing and movement dynamics.  Moyer’s At Odds showed a connection between the dancers primarily through movement and focus while Ms. Fieseler, who also danced in her piece, thoroughly connected herself and Annex Dance Company member, Francesca Stigliano, more through dynamics and movement quality.  Observing two people connecting in this way was both refreshing and intriguing.

One, choreographed by Tara Lynne Madsen, who dances for Tania Isaac Dance, created an untouchable display of real, true sisterhood.  The piece was dedicated to Madsen’s own sister and continued to reveal another method of connection between two dancers: emotion.  Also united at times in movement and/or focus, One was a genuine and moving work which showed all aspects of sisterhood, not only what appears to be.  Her use of two people generated a very intimate and delicate relationship.

Ami Dowden-Fant, company member of dancetheatreX, choreographed etches of herskin which disclosed a layered mother-daughter relationship and also seemed to portray a subtle, general theme of women connected through generations.  Dancing herself along with Ashley Johnson, the piece was a connection on all levels, including movement, focus, and emotion.  Weight-sharing was also used as a tool to clearly create a supportive, strong, and unconditional maternal nature.  Ami Dowden-Fant included a few gestures as well, such as laying her palm upon the other dancer’s head, which effectively depicted a compassionate and tender bond.

Kristin A. Fieseler presented again and closed An Evening of Duets with three linked duets which explored many themes of personal identity and its influences.  Chapter I: Closer Duet was inspired by a quote which was a contribution to, “The closer I get to you the farther I am from me”.  Danced by Fieseler and Annex Dance Company member Moira Ryan, this first duet illustrated an extremely dominative and controlling relationship.  The constant pushing and pulling between the two, along with Ryan’s repetitive falls, left the dancer alone onstage in a lost and forlorn state.  Transition to Standing began with another Annex Dance Company member, Courtney Andrews, approaching Ryan.  Fieseler proved to be completely successful in illustrating the ripple effect and influence of one relationship onto the next through the sleek changing of dancers and sequence of consecutive duets.  Quicksand, the final duet of the trio and the closing work of the evening, depicted yet another type of relationship.  Danced again by distraught Ryan and Andrews, the two were connected through movement and focus.  The piece painted a fruitless friendship filled with failed attempts to help one another and to lift each other up.

The conclusion of the show fed into a small, informal question-answer session between the audience and choreographers.  This brief conversation was an excellent way to discover even more about each duet presented and to learn more about the nature of dance duets in general.  Loyalty to a duet theme for this show thrived in gently coaching the audience to not only watch, but to truly observe, absorb, and appreciate certain relationships within a dance context.  The performance traveled literally two-by-two, paying tribute to the relationship potential of movement, the significance of focus within dance, and the infinite, less apparent, methods of connection between two people.