Sunday, April 26, 2009

Inlet Dance 4/09

Inlet ‘REFLECTIONS’ impressive at DanceWorks ’09

It’s a shame that Inlet Dance, which is one company performing at Cleveland Public Theatre’s DanceWorks ’09 program, only does several public performances a year. Artistic Director Bill Wade’s dancers are well trained, his choreography is focused, and the performances are always filled with innovative concepts.

In ‘REFLECTIONS,’ their newest offering, they repeated past successes and added several world premieres. One is from a guest director, the other is based on an artist-in-residence experience they had in the Easter Islands. The Easter Islands of the giant carvings of myth and wonder.

The program opened with “DOPPELGANGER,’ which uses two male dancers to visually display the creation of uniqueness. The two bodies work as one, much in the style of Pilobolus Dance, which uses strong elements of physical interaction between the bodies of the performers, exaggerations or contortions of the physiques of the dancers, and verges on gymnastics. Inlet is fortunate to have two of the best male dancers in the area. Joshua Brown, thin and agile, floats as he dances. He is perfectly countered by Justin Stentz, whose sculpted body, is a mass of muscle power. The duo is compelling as they act as one, perfectly balancing, gyrating and twisting into fascinating positions.

‘LEGACY,’ in its premiere, was choreographed by Randall Finn, the founder of Ad Deum Dance Company of Houston. Consisting of five movements, which center on how much people have given of self, and how it affects our lives, varying staging devices were effectively used. Chairs, which were sat on, slid under and balanced upon, solo pieces, duets, and group segments, comprised the number. Especially appealing was “Till Time Do Us Part,” beautifully performed by Mikaela Clark with Justin Stentz and “Forget Me Not,” which was superbly interpreted by Mikaela Clark.

‘THERE IS A FOUNTAIN,’ a Wade piece, was nicely executed by Rebecca Inman and Andrew Leatherman.

‘MEMORIATE,’ honored the aged. Though it evoked emotional response, it was less compelling as a dance piece, than the other selections.

The cornerstone offering, the world premiere of ‘TE PITO O TE HENUA, PHASE ONE,’ was dedicated to the company’s visit to Rapoa Nui (Easter Island). Following many of the traditions of the culture, Wade is fashioning a suite of dances. The first movements explore the idea of a healthy interdependent community while citing images of how people came to the island and displayed the strong sense of community of the natives. The five segments covered the traveling on waves to the island, the traditional female and then the male trio of dancers, and a lava tubes dance in which the performers formed mountains and valleys which were climbed and traversed. The piece was creatively choreographed, but needs work. The waves segment was a little too long. The complicated movements throughout take perfect timing, and the dancers weren’t quite in control of all the movements to blend into a unified unit.

Capsule judgement: In ‘REFLECTIONS,’ the Bill Wade’s inspired company again proved their abilities to move and engage an audience. Inlet Dance is one of the area’s premiere dance companies. Because they spend enormous amounts of time in outreach to area schools and institutions, they don’t do as many public performances as might be desired.