Dance

Lightning in a Bottle

Monica Rodero and Dan Schuchart celebrated 10 years of dancing together with a memorable concert.

By - Nov 24th, 2014 02:30 pm
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"Some Years After" Choreography by Debra Loewen. Photo Jeff Larson.

“Some Years After” Choreography by Debra Loewen. Photo Jeff Larson.

I feel lucky to have witnessed dancers Monica Rodero and Dan Schuchart (longtime members of Wild Space Dance Company), celebrating a decade of dance together, in a crazy delightful weekend concert that should have been mandatory viewing for all art-loving Milwaukeeans. It was lightning in a bottle. Performed at Danceworks Studio Theatre, Duetted was a quirky and soulful compilation of new works and past works recreated – a showcase that left you wanting these two as your closest friends.

Rodero and Schuchart move with a certain eccentricity that never comes across as odd or misplaced. Instead, their bodies move in tandem even when separated – always synchronized as though magnetized. The opening Taped Hands saw the duo spinning and careening around the studio space, never with an awkward stutter despite the fact that they were, in fact, taped together at the hands. Even if there was any struggle, it was done in a teasing manner that matched the approachable personality of the piece.

There’s something I always get — a sense of feeling at home — from a standout dance performance. In part I think Rodero and Schuchart learned this from Wild Space founder Deb Loewen, whose work always carries the weight of the human condition, but in a light-hearted way. Her contribution to Duetted, called Some Years After, allowed Rodero and Schuchart to explore their past in a manner that could only be created by a long-time friend and mentor.

Rodero shined in Sound, a hypnotic piece in which Schuchart kept his hand over Rodero’s mouth at all times – until he didn’t, and a strange scream came bursting forth, squelched only by the replacement of Schuchart’s hand. The couple continued to spin and tumble around the stage to “Crimson and Clover,” somehow the most perfect song to accompany the peculiar happenings, particularly when Rodero’s voice cut through. Again, the flawless delivery was everything in this piece, with Rodero and Schuchart’s personal chemistry leading the way.

Most impressive was an excerpt in which Schuchart played puppeteer to Rodero’s compliant form – eyes closed, she folded and unfolded to the mere presence of Schuchart’s hand raised above her. A twitch of the hip, a raise of the shoulder – all done by feel and impossibly minute cues that had the audience murmuring their contented approval.

Those of us who attended Schuchart’s Connected, also offered this weekend,were treated to a meditative workshop of sorts, an organic unfolding of Schuchart’s creative process supported by the audience members spread throughout the studio space. It wasn’t unlike a favorite night spent with friends and strangers – one of those situations you find yourself in that just feels right and makes you wonder. In particular, Schuchart paused to read us a gorgeous creation of his own, a list of mundane and poetic and important moments each ending in “…and I wanted it,” lulling us into a dreamy mind space.

In the end, I wished Duetted/Connected was running every weekend leading up to the holidays. It was the kind of thing that gives you the warm fuzzies all over and puts your mind at ease, not a bad way to celebrate the season.

0 thoughts on “Dance: Lightning in a Bottle”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well done, Danielle. Glad to see that you’ve kept at it and have continued to grow as a writer and observer. Proud of you, kid. — Tom

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