Sunday, February 10, 2002

Kaeja d'Dance (Cleveland Public Theatre)

Cleveland Public Theatre presents award winning Kaeja d'dance

The Cleveland Public Theatre often goes where other local entertainment centers dare not tread. The theatre had the nerve to present the likes of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. It allows its facilities to be used to present a play where all the actors wind up nude. And, now, they present an innovative dance series that runs through March 3.

Unfortunately, programs are only scheduled for short runs. For example, Kaeja d’Dance was only presented for three performances this past weekend. It’s too bad there wasn’t time for word to spread about this creative, innovative, fascinating Canadian company. This award winning dance ensemble is led by Allen Kaeja, a Jewish choreographer. His ethnic background and family experiences gave birth to his powerful piece Resistance which chronicles the Jewish struggle that took place against the Nazi. Composed of gymnastic, synchronized, powerful movements, the performers use four benches which are so synchronized into the patterns that they often take on the role of dancers. The furniture pieces are slammed, stacked, balanced on, swung, and spun to create awesome effects. The variety of musical accompaniment spans pinging beats, Hebraic melodies, plaintive pitches and the roar of engines. The movements are perfectly choreographed to fit the tone and feeling of the music. Though it may be difficult for the uninitiated to understand the connection of the piece to the Holocaust, the overall effect of violence, intimacy and reflection are crystal clear. The dancers are suburb. They work as a well polished machine to create a highly emotional performance.

The opening piece was an improvisation in which the dancers were randomly chosen to perform, with and without music, with no rehearsal and no theme. Working like a perfectly honed machine the company created an exciting experience for the audience.

Capsule judgement: The only regret of the evening was that so few people attended this enticing dance program. Let’s hope that in the future CPT asks this wonderful company back.