Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review in the Fort Worth Star Telegram

Special to the Star-Telegram
FORT WORTH -- If you've been hankering to sample what North Texas has to offer in the way of modern dance, Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth's spring concert, "Close Up and Personal," is a great starting place.

It's a box of assorted choreographic chocolates, if you will. And if it doesn't always feel cohesive, that's not necessarily the point. The spotlight is on the variety of styles, ideas and forms of area choreographers.

Solo work is represented in Jessica Thomas ( seenunseen from 2010), Courtney Mulcahy ( Two, a premiere) and Tina Mullone ( Blind Faith, premiere). Whereas Thomas uses her long red hair as an expression of emotion and movement (reminiscent of Margie Gillis) and Mulcahy gives a dramatic look into the cyclical life of a woman suffering from a mental disorder, Mullone goes for something less introspective with a more traditional and athletic dance that is no less profound.

Comedy comes with Sarah Newton's delightful postmodern jig, (premiere), using kicks and head bobs with modern choreography in a fun duet with Mulcahy. On the sillier side is Lori Sundeen Soderbergh's Safe (premiere), with scenes that capture the absurdities and frustrations of the airport and airplane experience.

Denton choreographer Ellie Leonhardt's premiere of The Well Interruption is an exciting ensemble piece, using asymmetric groupings of eight dancers, sometimes working in unison, other times separately, with strong use of extended limbs to create angular geometric shapes. Perhaps the idea is for the dancers to reflect the swaying bare tree branches in the backing video (by Dave Bithell).

The evening's standout was Claudia Orcasitas, dancing the story solo Claroscuro, originally created for San Marcos Ballet. She enters the stage, puts on her peasant clothes and finds a love-hate relationship with a wooden pail.
Then, in the premiere of Orcasitas' Madre Luna, Jacqueline DePetris and Thomas give us an expressive, beautifully danced duet.

The program's final work, the company's premiere of iAm uAre, came too late in the program to be reviewed.

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