Matthew Reddin

Art to Art at Danceworks

By - Jul 31st, 2010 03:23 pm
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“any object that fulfills the same function for an adult,” choreographed by Alexandria Watry, text by Amy Zippel. Pictured: Kayla Schroepfer.

It was a night of puppeteers, industrial design, theater, song, verse and, mostly, dance.

Friday night, Danceworks opened its sixth annual Art to Art program. As always, Danceworks has teamed artists from various disciplines with dancers and choreographers in pursuit of create genre-bending works.

This year’s teams: Choreographer Lauren Hafner Addison with design engineer Elizabeth Alstad;  choreographer Mary-Elizabeth Fenn with industrial designer Chris Metcalf and sound designer Dakotah Cornelius; choreographer Julianna LaRosa with puppeteer Kurt Hartwig and graphic designer Jordan Melrood; choreographer Alison Leonard with theatre artist and director Andy Wiginton; choreographer Hannah Marquardt with vocalist Susan Wiedmeyer and pianist Jennifer Van Brunt; choreographers Jessie Mae Scibek and Molly Mingey with costume designer Kasia Drake-Hames; choreographer Alexandria Watry with creative writer Amy Zippel; and choreographers Karen Zakrzewski and Katie Rhyme with composer Kyle Feerick.

Art to Art is always memorable, and this year is no exception. Themes ranged from a dysfunctional dinner to a spider dance with African influences. No two entries covered the same territory.

But not all of the pieces reached the same level of synthesis. Marquardt/Wiedmeyer/Van Brunt’s Adaptation, places a fluid, artful dancer against an arrangement of Ave Maria. A bit of bubbly (Leonard/Wiginton) tells the tale of a woman who lives in a bottle of champagne. In Oust the Clout, costume designer Drake-Hames helps turn the dancers turn into a spider. These three pieces are entertaining to watch — especially Clout, with its wiry, leggy steps on toe — but they miss that spark of synthesis that is the point of Art to Art.

That spark charges the rest of the show. LaRosa and Hartwig, in Who wants to be the Bearded Lady?, transform live dancers into puppets through herky-jerky movement and, when they move behind a translucent curtain, through shadow play. This collaboration resulted in an utterly different sort of dance. The same is true of Watry’s any object that fulfills the same function for an adult. The dance, about dependency, could easily have been done to a pop song. Zippel’s spoken text somehow elevates it.

Art to Art is about throwing people together and seeing what happens. This year, all of it is interesting. Some of it is surprising.

Art to Art, part of Danceworks summer series, will be repeated at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at the Danceworks Studio Theater, 1661 N. Water St. Both performances sold out. To get on the waiting list, call Danceworks, 414 277-8480.

Categories: A/C Feature 1, Dance

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