by Jane Fries for The Dance Journal | photo credit Reed Richards
The Megan Flynn Dance Company presented a pop-up performance of recent work this past Saturday in South Philly. Originally scheduled to occur out-of-doors at The Gateway at Broad Street and Passyunk Avenue, the performance was moved inside to Sweat Fitness where the event took place amidst punching bags, dumbbells, and viewers who wandered in from the gym.
It was cozy inside the fitness center’s exercise studio, with the falling snow (responsible for the shift in venue) visible through the window. In this non-theatrical environment, with dancers and audience sharing the same space, the performance had a 3-dimensional quality that was alive and inviting.
Flynn has a unique talent for crafting movement that tells a story. She doesn’t tell stories in a narrative sense, but rather communicates through an original language of bodies in motion. Flynn’s dances are sculptural, and she invents shapes that utilize her dancers’ entire physical frames.
The company led off with a 25-minute piece, We’re all a little bit stubborn (2016), set to a melodic and haunting original score by Alan Terricciano. Their stubbornness comes through, for example, when the dancers resist the follow-through of movements in their solos or hold out against one another in their duets. The intentionality of their twisted shapes and acrobatic movements, as well as the inventiveness in their floor work and partnering sequences, are compelling to behold.
The short duet, All Dreams Collapsed in One Second (2017) closed the program. The piece features Randall Anthony Smith and Marcie Mamura as a quirky and playful pair who have a magnetic pull on each other. They go full-out, sometimes like baseball players sliding into home base.
The MFDC dancers, who also included Sarah Braviak, Katrina Muffley, and Jennifer Yackel, are a self-assured group who avoid over-emoting and trust the power of their bodies to tell the story. Randall Anthony Smith is a particularly wonderful dancer, with gorgeous port-de-bras and expressive fluidity.
Flynn’s young company proved its caliber in this “take the dance to the people” performance. Dancegoers should keep an eye out for them, and be sure to catch a performance when the next opportunity pops up.
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