Ann Arbor Dance Works presenting works new, old and in between
Photo by Glenn Bering
For the past few years, AADW has drawn its guest artists from the ranks of alumni who have made their mark on the nation’s dance scene. “We’ve showcased them almost exclusively, along with people we know really well” said Jessica Fogel, the faculty member who is artistic director for the show. But this year’s guest, New York choreographer Sidra Bell, director of Sidra Bell Dance, has no U-M connections. “She’s someone none of us know,” Fogel said. “Her name came up when one of our MFA students wanted to shadow her for her thesis on the creative process. I began to become aware of her that way.”
Fogel and her colleagues liked what they heard and saw of Bell, whose commissions have taken her around the country and abroad. “She has a very virtuosic movement vocabulary that I thought our dancers would enjoy, and a collaborative process of creating works that is engaging, contemporary and exciting,” Fogel said.AADW members were thrilled that Bell was willing to enter into just such a process with the dancers—the show features a new work she has created for AADW during a two-week residency.
Another show premiere is faculty member Amy Chavasse’s “What Passes for Tenderness.” Chavasse poses the question, “How is tenderness expressed, and what is the object of our tenderness?” She answers it in movement, in a dance for six.
Peter Sparling’s “Patient Spider,” from 2010, is a “screendance,” a video work in which editing and the flat screen provide a web-like kaleidoscope of multiple windows onto the body (Sparling’s). Whitman’s “Noiseless Patient Spider” is the text, with music by composer Yehuda Yannay.
Three older dances—golden oldies from the creators’ pasts—make an appearance on the bill as well.
Bill DeYoung presents “Tenfold,” a solo revived from 1986, now danced by Jillian Hopper. The work, set to music by the U-M’s Stephen Rush (played live by pianist Joseph Prestamo), sets forth 10 different musical styles and qualities that flow into each other before a coming together in a cadenza that recapitules them.
Robin Wilson reprises her charming, light-footed “Feets!”, in which five women strut their stuff to music by the Easy Karaoke Players. Wilson did the video backdrop for the piece as well as the choreography.
She’ll also dance in “Blues/Crossroad,” a 1997 duet that she set to traditional field hollers. This time around, Erika Stowall takes on Wilson’s original role as a woman at the crossroads of her life, and Wilson plays the being from another realm who helps her discover her own path.