Koresh Artist Showcase: March Series

by Emma Elsmo for The Dance Journal

This past weekend, Koresh presented their quarter-annual artist showcase in the studio’s David Cooper Black Box Theater. Choreographers and performers alike gathered in support of one another’s diverse movement creations, and the audience seemed to love it from beginning to end. The selected pieces showcased everything from pointe to post-modern, making the performance a delightful collection of fourteen stylized works packed into one short hour.

Mainstreet Dance Company opened with their work Wolfpack, choreographed by Jocelyn Hrzic. Eight youngsters, clad in tiny suits, took the space with captivating force as they leaped and turned to the tidings of Mumford & Sons’ The Wolf. Their passion and joy made the audience smile, but it was their technique, far beyond their youthful years, that made this piece an utter delight. Marika Brussel’s Falls Like Rain was a shift in tone to a solemn, balletic duet performed by Ted Keener and Donna Salgado. The pair moved with ease alongside one another as their long limbs and expressive faces executed the delicate choreography. An acro-inspired trio followed, providing yet another shift in dynamic to the flow of the show. Entitled Untitled, Abigayle Cryderman’s work was clearly well-rehearsed being that her dancers were in true unison and evidently trusted one another with effortlessness.

Into Interior, choreographed by Marion Kudla, was an intrinsic and intriguing quintet that developed with intention. The movers executed the floorwork focused piece with fervor, all while maintaining an air of calm intensity. Oxford Center for Dance’s Moi Moi was a trio of Parisian delight. Natalie Flynn used both the space and her prop— a chair— intelligently, and her dancers performed confidently with an accent of coyness. Hope B. Byers presented an excerpt of her work …skinned-deep with Full Circle Dance Company. It was a strong mix of technique and emotion as the performers danced their way through a story of slavery. The piece utilized text and music in a clever manner, and her movement paired well with her literal black-and-white costuming and casting.

Without intermission, the show continued on with Stockton University’s Primavera. Chandra Moss-Thorne had created a work that was in essence watching a Degas come to life. Her dancers wore long, tulle skirts and pristine buns atop their heads as they executed effortless pirouettes and pointed arabesques. Alchemy Dance Company followed with Amy Harding’s Follies. It was a hardcore change in style as the dancers wore black pants, sports bras and suspenders while they screamed along to Beirut’s Prenzlauerberg. The piece seemed oddly evocative of Fiddler on the Roof, but the choreography was modern and individualized.

Sound Thought by Melissa Rector was a solo with deep meaning and emotion. Performer Courtney Conigatti seemed to transform before the audience’s eyes as the work started with a low intensity and increased with a manic quality in both movement and performance. Swarthmore College presented Chandra Moss-Thorne’s second work of the evening, Plight. The enormous cast made the space feel small, however the dancers moved easily around each other while executing the technically demanding choreography. Donna Salgado’s Kenka was next, performed by CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet. It was the second pointe-centric duet of the evening; however, it had a decidedly more modern feel as the dancers worked their way through balletic floorwork.

Next, Caitlin Quinn Pittenger, in collaboration with her dancers, presented For Reasons Unseen. The work had a decidedly Ailey-esque element that the dancers tackled with grace as they lifted and rolled along to the driving, drum-based music. Navigation, choreographed and performed by Alisa Iacovelli and Casey Van Newenhizen, was a short but sweet exploration of floorwork proficiency and level changes. To close the evening’s performance, Roni Koresh showcased the Koresh Youth Ensemble in Wet Stones. The youthful cast tackled the complex work with an impressive vigor and succinct quality. The powerful choreography and clean execution behind the piece were well-received as evidenced by the audience’s cheers when lights faded with a dramatic flourish to close out the wonderous evening of dance.

About Emma Elsmo

A Chicago native, Emma Elsmo has been dancing since the mere age of two and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She began her formal dance training at the Academy of Movement and Music in Oak Park and has spent three summers training under Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's professional programs, as well as one summer spent with Deeply Rooted Dance Chicago. Currently, she is happy to be a part of several projects being created in the Philadelphia area. A lover of all things art related, Elsmo is currently getting a Bachelor's in Fine Arts from Temple University.

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