To Be A Woman – Klassic Contemporary Ballet Company at Fringe

by Gina Palumbo for The Dance Journal | photo By Antonio Wilson

In the creative process, artists must make difficult decisions when the subject of a work is delicate.    They want to spark a change in an audience without watering it down, so they seek the middle ground. Reminding themselves of why the work is important, they express the unspeakable, so as to spark curiosity in both the attentive and the indifferent.

In her Fringe Festival debut at The Performance Garage, Kimberly Landle combined three separate choreographic works of various styles to demonstrate growth in adversity. Formed in breath, intimacy, and trust is a community willing to tackle the tough stuff. With percussive and athletic movement, Klassic Contemporary Ballet Company (KCBC) addresses a journey through strife until the glory, acknowledging the pain and moving in spite of it.

Formula For Distance included The Long & The Short of IT, a trio featuring Landle and company dancers Sophie Malin and Martin Skocelas. A daring partnership formed between Landle and Skocelas, all while Malin’s movement remained pedestrian. With a strong sense of direction, Malin walked with intention from stage right to left, as the duet was building in intensity. When asked what the relationship was between Malin and the couple, Landle’s answer was thought-provoking. The duet represented the chaos of one person’s journey in comparison to the calculated, linear path of another. To her, it does not matter how different each person’s journey is from the next person’s, but that they both end up exactly where they are supposed to be.

Weight Of The World was the fourth movement, and it featured six dancers in total. Ako Kyong-McClain carried each dancer to a new floor position, manipulating their movement. Each time, she used improvisation to decide how to pick them up. This practice is a tell-all that these dancers have belief and conviction in one another.

METAMORPHOSIS: the magic within the chrysalis featured dancers from KCBC II, the youth company of KCBC. Six different pieces were titled Butterfly, each from a different language. There were nuances in the music that these dancers understood emotionally and artistically. Floor work was prevalent, and it was fast-paced and sharp. In one instance, almost all of the youth company was moving through a floor phrase while a solitary dancer was walking through them. Whether it was water, trees or a mountain, their movement created a landscape for the dancer.

Even as the pieces came to a close, the group found opportunities to move within that pose, giving it life until the lights went down.  They also had a stronghold on musicality, and Landle credits that to breath. When asked if the use of it improves the dancers’ fluidity, she responded, “You don’t realize until you are a professional that it is okay to breathe while dancing.” Learning this now will serve as an advantage that will cling to them their whole lives.

Sit Like A Lady opened with Indoctrination, and dancers in black cloaks created an ominous presence against the lighting. Recollecting the struggles that women from all circumstances share, this piece sent a message by using a simple prop: water. The dancers took a moment at the start to wash their faces, and Landle allowed them to choose what to let go of. Some might say it was the restriction of womanhood.

The end of the performance brought an unmasking. Torn was performed in silhouette, where the dancers courageously relinquished costuming. Torn progressed into Release, a solo performed and created by Landle. She let the audience into her hiding place, a world where the female body is regarded and not hidden, respected and not harmed. Sit Like A Lady carried the pain, and Release gave it freedom.

About Gina Palumbo

Gina Palumbo is a native of Philadelphia and has a passion for the arts. She has received her B.A. in Dance from DeSales University in Center Valley. She has been spending post-graduate life practicing ballet and yoga, as well as working in a library as an assistant. She resides in Northeast Philadelphia with her mother Joanne, her brother Anthony, her Nonna Carmela, and her pet bunny, Phyllis.

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