Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is a Dance Lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington where she serves as the Assistant Director of the UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. She is also a member of Muscle Memory Dance Theatre – a modern dance collective. Danielle is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Arts and Humanities at UT Dallas, and her first book, The Politics of State Public Arts Funding, is out now.
Soft. Subtle. Juicy. Real. Twelve years of beauty culminated Thursday night as Elledanceworks Dance Company celebrated its season finale at the company’s new home, the Latino Cultural Center. With the promise to entertain, challenge and please, the audience was not left unsatisfied.
The night started off with a meditative solo performed by Melissa Thompson. Thompson’s soft and pensive quality of movement set the tone for the rest of the evening. Her long-reaching arabesques pulled the audience into the world of Elledanceworks and never let them go. The crowd laughed with company member Amy Dillard’s gender-bending take on Renaissance court dancing, “Pursuit” (performed by directors Ronelle Eddings and Michele Hanlon) and cry with Edding’s “My Love Went to Sea,” a beautifully haunting story of love, loss and friendship. The talents and technique of company members Jennifer Dennison and Tracy Kennedy were put on display through Edding’s use of interesting and fresh approaches to weight sharing and assisted partnershi. Their emotion and rawness tugged and pulled at the audience’s hearts as they explored their grief-ridden world.
But the climax came on at full speed with company member Tiffanee Arnold’s “Approaching the Boiling Point.” The power, tension and aggression of the dancers was palpable and effectively portrayed through the repetitive use of a circular pas de bourrée that slowly built in intensity and a bourrée à la second that portrayed the internal anxiety of the dancers. The piece was well choreographed and thought out and was the perfect end to the first act. It brought the audience to the boiling point, leaving them wanting more. And more they were given. The momentum constructed by Arnold’s piece traveled throughout the second act and hit its high with Hanlon’s “Passage,” a piece in three parts.
The most interesting aspect of “Passage” is Hanlon’s modern dance take on a stable of partner dance: connection. The dancers spent the entire first part of the piece entwined with each other. The move in and out of twisted clumps while always holding hands, or staying connected. It was fun watching the dancers work their way out of some sticky situations and proceed through the passage of the dance. In the second section, they were finally able to break away from each other and here, company member Jennifer Mabus shined as the featured soloist. Her fluid lines, ground awareness and subtle passionate performance quality grabbed your attention. She is one to watch. And, although it was enjoyable watching the dancers explore the space, it was a welcomed relief when they reconnected to for the finale.
Ending the night by shooting straight to the heart, Eddings’ “Promise” was a glorious and uproarious thank you. With touches of African dance, “Promise” is a huge celebration of the 12 years of modern dance Elledanceworks has been bringing to North Texas. They have entertained, challenged and pleased us for years, and hopefully, they will continue to do so.
Elledanceworks’ Move: 12 continues Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.