Saturday, April 12, 2008

Inlet Dance 4/08

INLET DANCE continues to impress and adds yet another mission

Inlet Dance Theatre, which recently performed as part of Cleveland Public Theatre’s DanceWorks program, is noted for their dedication to personal and regional growth and outreach. As announced by Bill Wade, the group’s Artistic Director during a concert interlude, the company added “global” to their mission. Their global outreach was clearly in evidence at the CPT program.

The dance concert consisted of six movement segments and a mini-lecture about Easter Island.
The first dance, ‘TIDES AND SOLITUDE,’ was choreographer Sally Wallace’s vision of the solitude, peace and harmony that takes place when breaking the traditional mold allows for the creation of joy. Using long poles and dressed in gauze costumes that took on the air of sails, the dancers catalapulted across the stage to Brian Eno and Robert Fripp’s flowing music. There was a soothing quality to the entire blend of sound and movements which was artistically performed by the corps.

‘OFFAXIS,’ in its premiere, was strongly danced by Joshua Brown, who collaborated with Wade on the choreography. Costumed in plumage, Brown broke outside the traditional box by allowing himself to not only look different, but move in creative and challenging ways.

‘AGE OF ISOLATION,’ a cleverly conceived Inlet premiere, danced to the atonal music of Philip Glass, found the cast starting a traditional dance sequence. But, soon, the performers found a computer, cell phones, ipods and electronic games pulling at their attention. Finally, each become so isolated in his or her own technological world, that the dance itself became non-existent. This was a definite audience pleaser.

‘DANCES FROM RAPA NUI’ were a series of Rapa Nui dances. Rapa Nui is the the native name for what westerners call Easter Island. The performers, dressed in traditional Island clothing and emblazoned with tribal makeup, used traditional native music to give the audience a glimpse of the island’s culture.

This segment was developed as part of an international artist exchange in which the Inlet dancers were taught Rapa Nui movements by Easter Island residents Akahanga Rapu Tudi and Joanna Pako. The next phase of the outreach will take place later this month when eight company members travel to Easter Island for a two-week residency where they will not only learn more about the Rapa Nui culture, but expose the residents to their first dose of modern dance.

‘DREAM OF SLEEPING,’ which was based on research provided by the National Sleep Foundation, was mostly danced with closed eyes. It found the dancers gyrating on the floor as they attempted to fall asleep, then sleep and then react to their restlessness, dreams and nightmares. Though a little long, it was another creative piece by Wade set to the music of former Clevelander, Ryan Lott.

The program ended with “OUT OF NOWHERE,’ performed to singer Ada Sari’s operatic solos, as well as segments of spoken words and some hip-hop. The lighthearted piece, centered, as most of the evening did, on how culture influences each of us. Choreographed by Stephen Wynne, the dance asks, “Are relationships and values always determined to change?”

Capsule judgement: Bill Wade and his Inlet Dance Theatre are a unique company. They go outside the box looking beyond traditional roles of performers and use the medium to teach and enlighten. Their DanceWorks program was yet another well performed, creatively conceived and entertaining evening of dance.