Rhode Island College Dance Company 49th Annual Spring Concert Series
Roberts Auditorium, Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts
Thursday, 28 February, 8 PM
Friday, 29 February, 8 PM
Saturday, 1 March, 8 PM
Sunday, 2 March, 2 PM
General Admission; $5 Student/Senior Discount with ID
From the "Soulowork" of Andrea Woods' A Love Supreme to the colorful exuberance of Michael's Big Adventure to the comical dirge of SPEW, the RIC Dance Company's 49th Annual Spring Concert Series brings to light local artists, RIC alumni, and established choreographers.
A Love Supreme echoes with deep beats which drive the rhythm of the dancers, moving in their own times, together, among each other. Crossing the stage in brilliant reds and shining white, against a backdrop reminiscent of a flock of cranes taking flight, the dancers embrace the syncopation of the music and each other. If you don't feel your body pulsating with the music by the end of this piece, check your heartbeat.
In crimson red flowing dresses, the dancers cast by Katie McNamara in Artless slowly evolve from a luscious duet (Allie Smith, Kim Johnson) against a trio performing sharp, jagged, angular gestures. Tom Waits and Damien Rice provide a haunting background as they sing of cheating; hair bound by black bands, faces mostly hidden from the audience, bodies hunched over due to the weight of guilt.
In Breath Hold, created this past fall by the dynamic duo of Nugent+Matteson, the dancers periodically engage in a breath holding contests. As the sound score provided by Michael Wall drifts along, infusing the piece with an almost dream-like quality, and Michael Giannitti's choice of a cirrus cloud projected on the backdrop, we witness relationships and connections between the dancers develop and break apart on a continuous basis. From a solo danced by Jenna Scavone, the piece evolves into a duet, then a trio, until all nine dancers occupy the space until the end of the piece, fading out with a final canon of the opening duet.
Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer's Moveable Feast premiered during the Winter Concert, and with music performed by the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, if you not ready to dance in your seat by the end of this piece, get your jive mechanism checked out. As the dancers burst onto the stage in a variety of outfits and trenchcoats (including an infamous "Cruella DeVille" coat), the partying doesn't stop. In throes of Dionysian ecstasy and playfulness, a live camera duplicates the scene on half the stage, projected onto a wall of coats forming a human tapestry. The swinging music provides an excellent flavor to the trenchcoat-swapping fun right up until the surprise ending, which should at least make you chuckle.
Peeking out from behind the wings of the right side of the stage, and popping out onto the stage to return behind the masking, Michael's Big Adventure, choreographed by local artist Michael Bolger, keeps you wondering what happens next. The festively colored dancers perform almost like a human music box, as the piece builds up a dramatic sense of crossing back and forth between a old country western and an Italian bistro, as violin and harmonica play off against each other. A half-dozen duets form as the dancers themselves gravitate around each other, until they return to the flock from which they originated.
Amanda Del Prete paints a blue line across her half of the stage (with actual paint) as several dancers clad in thick horizontal striped shirts sing a futile yet comical dirge in SPEW, choreographed by alumnus Kellie Ann Lynch. As the sound score details the myths of the dragon, Bahamut, the vocals become raucus cries, cheeks puff up, arms raise up like scarecrows, and faces contort with disgust. As a word is roughly formed on a white canvas, the blue paint becomes a symbol of some threshold not to be crossed or touched... and for those who dare to tease and taunt, the penalty is getting painted.
The RIC Dance Company shows are an opportunity not to be missed. If you are a student and find yourself on campus with a few dollars and a free evening (or Sunday matinee), come support your fellow students. The Faculty/Alumni Concert takes place on the last Thursday and Friday of March, featuring Associate Professor Melody Ruffin Ward, and '03 RIC Alumnus Kellie Ann Lynch. The Student Choreography Showcase is held the last Thursday and Friday of April, and features works created by aspiring dance students. These shows take place at 8 PM in the Helen Forman Theatre, seating is limited (and excellent); student and senior discounts apply.