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ARC Dance at the Seattle Center
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Author:  Dean Speer [ Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  ARC Dance at the Seattle Center

ARC Dance
Saturday, 25 July 2015
Leo K. Theatre, Seattle Center

by Dean Speer

In a mere 16 years, Marie Chong has built ARC Dance to its currently enjoyed and well deserved reputation as a first-rate chamber-sized ballet company.

Their annual Summer Dance at the Center run at the Leo K. Theatre is an eagerly awaited event on the Seattle area dance calendar.

With an attractive cadre of well trained and beautiful dancers – four women and three men -- both regional and choreographers of international renown are invited to make or reset pieces. The results on this round varied from an en pointe ballet to contemporary ballet with music from Schumann’s Kinderszenen piano score to a sound score composed by one of the choreographers, Travis Guerin. Each work was enhanced by the dancers’ very strong presentations -- dancing and being “in the skin” of each ballet.

Chong’s Schumann opened the program and was the most balletic and the only en pointe piece for the women. Each of the seven brief sections showcased the dancers, being a mini-ballet of an opening theme and development. The first began with Madeline Bay, Erin Crall, and Victoria Jahn entering from the downstage left corner with a pas de cheval theme and being interconnected through port de bras. The only downside of short movements is just that – I wanted more and the material was strong enough to develop and make into a fuller ballet.

Ilana Goldman’s Gaining Ground was a double pas de deux. The program notes indicates that the piece is inspired by the investigation of gender norms and the obstacles still faced by women in a post-feminist society.

Next was Jason Ohlberg’s Song of the Siren – cast alternately between an all-male and all-female cast. We happened upon the latter. The work begins and ends with the same sculptural pose – one that suggests looking into the future.

HIVE by Travis Guerin benefitted from good choreography and exceptional performances from the entire cast: Madeline Bay, Alice Cao, Christopher Costantini, Erin Crall, Graham Gobeille, Victoria Jahn and Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin.

Edwaard Liang is one of the hot choreographers du jour and Chong was most fortunate to snag him to create a new ballet just for ARC Dance. The concept is that of a female Sisyphus, a woman who repeats relationship patterns over and over. The performers were Victoria Jahn as the woman and Christopher Costantini, Graham Gobeille and Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin

I hope that ARC continues to grow in the future, as chamber ballets are all too often seen in regional dance and ballet festivals and less so on the professional stage. They are an important component of the dance mix.

File comment: HIVE by Travis Guerin. Photo © Paul Sanders Photography. ARC Dance.
HIVE_Paul Sanders Photo, choreography by Travis Guerin_smaller size.jpg
HIVE_Paul Sanders Photo, choreography by Travis Guerin_smaller size.jpg [ 78.38 KiB | Viewed 2665 times ]

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