It isnt often that aggression is more appealing than prettiness, but such was the case for this years A Modern Night at the Folly, the City in Motion Dance Theaters 11th annual choreographers showcase.
By LIBBY HANSSEN
Special to The Star
The work of 11 choreographers from Kansas and Missouri, ranging from students to freelance professionals to professors, was selected for the event at the Folly Theater on Saturday night. The pieces ranged conceptually from punchy-antagonistic to introspective, with a dose of mischievous humor.
In Elaine Kimble-Peaks Said: Done, the dancers manipulated each other with assertive movement in synced ensemble work and superb solos. Angular gestures, as though striking out, transferred along the line and back, while smaller, individual moves knees jutted out, a tantrum-esque stomp, scuttled transition, brief caress reacted to forces unseen in a distinctive, innovative work.
A similar intensity occurred in Dawn Karlovskys Some Privacy in a Crowded Place, though as a man/woman duet it resonated sensually. They pulled and leaned against each other, switching places, mutually supporting and challenging.
Chadi El-Khourys Words in Motion, with Hunter Long performing his original electronic work In Any Considerable Proportion, featured headstands in impeccably controlled groundwork, extended legs accentuated by footed black leggings, contrasting to less specific arm work in baggy beige shirts.
Let It Fall was an in-progress piece by Jane Gotch, in collaboration with the performers. Leo Gayden began in silence and spotlight with a sequence of flexed gestures; Juliet Remmers, upstage in the dark, frantically searched the ground, matching the busy intricacies in Terry Rileys In C. Next, Gayden break-danced across the front of the stage as Remmers braided her hair, singing Glucks O del mio dolce ardor as she walked forward. She then mimed as though puppetering herself, drawing string from within. Along with their intentionally awkward partnering, it was an imaginative use of diverse skills in a delightfully incongruous exhibit.
The clever ideas and stern attitude of Kameron N. Saunders Lines Untouched gave the work a concise quality, despite messy transitions. Carly Malsom soloed on and around a banquet-style folding table in Cathy Pattersons Cibophobia, depicting the fear of food in a tortured display, continuing seamlessly when, midway, a table leg collapsed with dramatic effect.
The academic contingent, professors at University of Kansas and University of Missouri-Kansas City, took a more meditative approach. Patrick Suzeaus Ode had a ceremonial quality, with scattered flowered petals and thematic poses; Muriel Cohans Emergence pulsed as a trio writhed in an undulating spotlight; Paula Webers To Each Her Own featured graceful, continuous lines, though the motifs could have used more variety.
City in Motions Stephanie Whittler choreographed Ernest Blochs Poem of the Sea, performed onstage by pianist Robert Lamar Sims, with tidal entrances, wide gestures and whirling turns, though danced with imperfect ensemble.
Tiffany Sisemores Hush was cheekily intriguing. Matt Tady, making effusive sound effects to I Had a Rooster, strode in circles around Ann Shaughnessys extemporaneous, childlike solo.
The evening, while not a flawless showing, offered a glimpse into the continued art making in Kansas City.