Fresh Faced Choreographers present NEWances

By Katherine Knight for The Dance Journal

Artistry Dance Company and coEXISTdance presented NEWances at the CHI Movement Arts Center as a part of the Fringe Festival this past weekend. Kelly Adorno, Kathleen Glynn and Lora Allen presented a cohesive, creative, and aesthetically beautiful show featuring their own talented dancers.

Kelly Adorno’s ‘Etch-A-Sketch’ opens up with minimal lighting, and 8 silhouetted figures. With their feet cemented into the ground, they introduce simple arm gestures that gradually move into upper body swings. As the group moves, they create the environment, they create the atmosphere, and the audience is sucked in. The dancers toy with shifting their weight as if falling. They move swiftly across the space, keeping with the theme of shifting their bodies to an edge.  Just enough strength keeps their feet grounded.  The movement is consistent, accented by bursts, and some highlighted solo work. As you are drawn into the sweeping, fluidity of the dancers, kept on your toes by the dramatic weight shifts, you are caught off guard as the dancers return to their beginning, as the lights fade away to another beautiful silhouette, and then fade to black.

Lora Allen’s duet, ‘Let Go,’ is a display of weight sharing and partner work featuring two of her stunning dancers.  The dancer’s strength makes their fleeting, complex partner work look easy. Movements are dynamic, quickly changing weight, organizing their own decisions, and moving onto the next thought. They move so well together, and in such a tight spot, it seems as though they are dancing in a box, and not wasting an atom of space.

The lights open to Glynn’s group piece, ‘Decidedly Undecided’ with two dancers, upstage right, on their toes with purposely-shaky ankles. The rest of the group is downstage left, huddled together, layered over one another. One by the one the group is pulled apart and the dancers open up into the space. Movement themes stem from shifting weight, into the hands or feet, appearing to have a sense of hesitation. Similarly to Adorno’s piece, we see the dancers tempted by the invisible edge that exists on either side of the space, using deep lunges and open arms to show them testing this edge. The group moves together, accented by two dancers meeting up for a beautiful moment of unison movement, a refreshing surprise among the sea of dancing. Midway through the piece, a majority of the dancers find themselves peering over the edges of the space, while one dancer blindly walks in a circle, with a purposeful, pedestrian walk, broken up by elaborate gestures. As the piece concludes, the group finds the shaky ankles that started the piece, concluding the cycle that they went through right before us.

After a brief intermission, Adorno’s ‘Left Lane Closed,’ opens up with a black and white video of train tracks.  The audience finds coEXISTdance co-director, Kathleen Glynn sitting downstage right, in a chair, with her back to the audience. Soon, Glynn is featured in the video, dancing next to the train tracks. With perfect timing, Glynn joins in, dancing with herself in the video.  Adorno’s choreography offers seamless leg extensions and arm circles contrasted with moments of stillness, and somewhat aggressive pedestrian walks with her arms across her chest. This solo is a beautiful representation of what these two new choreographers can create together.

Next up was Allen’s ‘Jump Rope,’ a dazzling solo. Lauren McGinnis displays her strength, flexibility, grace, with knowledge of timing, and dynamics. The piece begins with the view of a nearly bareback, as McGinnis sits legs crossed. She begins with dramatic sequential repetition, then moves into the space offering elegant full-bodied gestures scattered with picturesque moments of stillness.
Glynn presents her new work about her relationship with her sister, a playful piece, appropriately titled ‘Spaghetti Ppssghetti.’ These two dancers are adorned in colorful, floral dresses with a soundtrack featuring children laughing. Immediately, they are making contact, one dancer leaning on the other, and slowly making contact with their hands. They share an intimate beginning sequence, with weight sharing, and playful gestures. The dancers seems to have a sly smile as they run through the space, following one another, only to find each other once again, and catch each other’s falls. Glynn created playful scenes with the dancers peering over their shoulders, shifting their hips and skipping in place mimic sisters playing in the backyard.

Closing the show was ‘Chance our Trust,’ Allen’s group piece. Theme being just that, trusting each other enough to fall, and being their to catch them. Similarly to Allen’s duet at the start of the show, she introduced creative falls and catches between her dancers. Intuitively, the dancers would appear, even when you didn’t think someone would be there to make the catch. The simplicity of the lighting, solid colored costumes, and atmospheric music set the perfect space for the dancers to fill in the gaps with jumps, falls, and catches. Not one dancers stood out, as they moved as a unit, like birds flocking, they continued to flow together, moving through the space seamlessly.

Keep a look out as Artistry Dance Company, and coEXISTdance continue to grow, experiment, and succeed in our dance community.

Photo Credit: Molly Jackson