Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Groundworks Dancetheater/Trinity Cathedral

GROUNDWORKS says goodbye to Amy Miller with engrossing production

Since 1998, Amy Miller and David Shimotakahara have been the artistic backbone of Groundworks Dance. Unfortunately, for the company and the audiences who have come back again and again to see the ensemble, Miller is moving to New York City. The company's recent program at Trinity Cathedral, a repeat of a presentation done earlier this season at The Akron Ice House, was a final tribute to the relationship between the dynamic duo.

Nothing could more exemplify Shimotakahara and Miller's bond than the last 30 seconds of 'DnA,' when the duo stood face-to-face bathed in share warmth. It was an emotional tribute to the connection that comes from two very talented individuals who melded into a powerful artistic force to give joy to both each other and audiences. Bravo!

The opening number, the world premiere of choreographer Jill Sigman's 'SPLIT STITCH,' was set to original music by Gustavo Aguilar. Each of the four-part movements found the dancers displaying a different set of emotions. Coordinated and segmented moves, interaction, lack of interaction, lyrical and static bodily actions, all highlighted by Dennis Dugan's lighting which cast shadows and moved in coordination and discordance with the dancers, created a series of illusions.

The final piece, 'JUST YESTERDAY,' was a recreation of a Dianne McIntyre choreographed number which is a series of vignettes, based on stories being told by the dancers, which are recreated in movement. Nostalgia, joy, sadness, personal traditions as they related to food, hi-jinks, fads, movies, family, and people who touched the dancers' lives, flowed forth. The fine acoustics of Trinity Cathedral allowed for clarity of hearing the spoken words. All in all, this is a fascinating selection, which got a wonderful performance.

Capsule judgement: As has come to be expected, the sold out performance of GROUNWORKS DANCE THEATER at Trinity Cathedral was a visual delight. Good luck to Amy Miller and welcome to Katie Wells, the newest of the company's dancers.