The Last Hurrah
Seattle Dance Project 7
Friday, 2 May, 2014, Broadway Performance Hall, Seattle
by Dean Speer
I remember when crowds were jamming to get into Seattle Dance Project’s early shows downtown at ACT and now, at the apparent conclusion of its life’s run, a little sad that not more seats were filled for opening night at what’s become the venerable Broadway Performance Hall, on the cusp of Seattle’s funky yet quickly becoming up-scale Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Led for the past couple of seasons by co-founding director Timothy Lynch, Seattle Dance Project has, for the most part, seen a relatively high level of choreography, concepts, and a wonderful level of execution by some of the area's best dance artists.
While the dancing was still at the level we’ve come to want and expect, the three dances presented were not, being weak on the development side of their ideas – in addition to being textured on the gloomy side. Strongest was Wade Madsen’s group work, “Want” which utilized not only dancers currently active on the performance scene but, in a very neat turn, culled a dozen of many of the areas most recent generation of dancers from those who had well known careers in the ballet to someone whose mark has been in tap dance. About two-thirds of the way through the pieces, these came out and were given essentially “gestural” movement motifs. It was great to see these cultural icons integrated into a contemporary work. Too often with dancers it’s all or nothing and I wish we had the Seattle equivalent of NDT III whose membership was made up of those aged 50 and up – and who looked great in the repertoire they were given.
The program opened with “Dessa Suites” by Amy O’Neal which featured Lynch and Chris Montoya with interesting use of lighting by Meg Fox – where the instruments themselves were lowered to various heights to create a set under which the dancers worked. In suits, the men reached and extended themselves, occasionally interacting/partnering each other.
“The Leaves Have Fallen” featured another male duet, this time with Ezra Dickinson and choreographer Iyun Ashani Harrison that was interesting while it happened but ultimately proved to be not memorable.