a recent post on the dance-action-network has started quite a dialogue. i re-post it, since obviously this person wants their voice heard. before reading, know that i disagree and agree with points.
"On Sunday, March 26, 2006, the Boston Dance Alliance convened for its annual Members Meeting and Performance at Roxbury Community College. This year, an audition accompanied the meeting, similar to a theater cattle call, offering combinations in ballet, modern, jazz and hip hop for dancers to show their strengths to choreographers in and around the Boston area. While filling a void in the Boston Dance Community, the event as a whole has noticeable room for improvement in the coming years. Let us focus, however, on the performance, which promised to highlight some of the best dancing in the Boston area but failed to deliver.
A pas de deux offered by the Boston Arts Academy opened the showing. The “deux” part of the dance was somewhat unclear, though, as Laura Montas danced around Joe Gonzalez, typical of male facilitation in classical ballet. Why not invite Paul Pierce to accompany Ms. Montas rather than a young man who breathes of dance technique? Only one moment of chemistry existed, where Ms. Montas ponched into the arms of her kneeling courtier, almost nuzzling his nose. This glimmer of young love was nearly realized but was soon squelched by the following attitude, pas de bourree, *repeat* combination that our prince only pretended to watch, looking as though he would rather be at home playing video games while his princess shopped online. The saddest part of it all is that Ms. Montas is actually a lovely dancer, with her soft-shoed feet being as pliable as her expressive, swanlike arms. She, like her partner, lacks experience and performance quality that formal artistic training could provide given a dose of artistic wisdom. We are left with a class combination dressed up in the plum shades (not even matching) of the Arabian Variation from a high school rendition of The Nutcracker.
Next, EgoArt was talked up by several members of the audience, but Nicole Pierce (not to be confused with our Celtic variety) lived up to the prelude in neither the choreography or the performance of her untitled solo. The vivid, tangerine costuming choice was the most interesting element of the piece. I was glad to have the translucent, geometric shape of her lapa to focus on for the duration of the dancing. With the inspiration of an African sunset, this costume wants so badly for a happiness that does not exist in the movement or in its draping over the unexpressive Pierce. This was not dancing, but a series of movements that one might find in yoga or tai chi class where one actually gets a work out. I thought my brain might get some stimulation(a work-out in and of itself) when a nodding, bowing movement, reminiscent of a bird, repeated itself and for a movement captured an animal instinct somewhere deep within. But, the connection did not exist between the lunging gestures that followed that made me want to vinasa and chant “om,” far, far away from Roxbury College.
I could use some yoga after the third piece, which made me want to scream and bite my nails. Why, why, why, why, why, is the willowy body of Will Weaver so unabashedly underused as a playground fixture? Three men alternate roles as the support of a swing holding a childlike character, who sometimes writhes and sometimes just plain clings on for dear life. Sure, there is something to be said for making an audience uncomfortable, but this is ridiculous. At one point, I do not think I was alone in seriously being fearful for her life. I thought that this might transcend for me when the typically fragile female attached and re-attached herself like a tree frog to the afore-mentioned Mr. Weaver. Unfortunately, my focus instead went towards the awkward transitions and how hard they both were fighting to make the shifts happen. The audience would be much better off seeing the languid, captive limbs of Mr. Weaver move in space instead of being grounded like a tree as choreographer Callie Chapman Korn envisions them.
Perhaps I had had enough at this point, but Rebecca Rice’s solo for Cydney Neilson entitle “Inside” was the absolute edge for me. If I had had a wall, I would have been banging my head against it. First of all, what an awful musical pairing! The finger-nails-on-chalkboard string instrumental by Frank Proto was not convincing as accompaniment to the cutesy antics of the young, brunette soloist. She danced primarily downstage, in a place where the audience longs for the performer to be intimate. However, when she was not engulfed in bad pantomime using a red book that mysteriously ended up in her dancing space, she certainly was not engaging the audience or letting them into her world. What of this book and the brown tank top with black pants that I wear to class? I would rather check my calendar for coming events than watch this piece and upon further investigation of the audience, I am not alone.
“Wow!” is all I have to say for the finale, entitled “Break Out.” OK, maybe I will throw in a “thank goodness,” as well. These kids can move: Hip Hop, West African, theatrics and gymnastics...you name it. Choreographer Sophia A. Haynes did not even need to be a “Smooth Criminal”, as her musical collage suggests, to steal this show. Two things on this: Who are the teachers at STAJEZ Center for the Arts and how do I sign up -PLEASE!?
To an extent, the dancers are not to blame for such a horrific display. For now, let us challenge the choreographers to dig deep and see what happens."
oh, i forgot to mention the e-mail was entitle "Boston, let's raise the bar..."