Thursday, March 24, 2016

Groundworks Dance Theater stresses imagination you can see @ Breen Center; IT TAKES TWO--annual fundraising

The reconfigured Groundworks Dance Theater, with two new dancers this season, again proved that they are one of the area’s premiere dance companies in their presentation of “Falling Awake,” in its world premiere, and Artistic Director David Shimotakahara’s spellbinding, “Ghost Opera.” 

“Falling Awake” found the entire company interpreting choreographer Loni Landon’s creation about tension, connection/disconnection and how people relate to each other.

The piece, Landon said, was inspired “from a recurring image [she] had after several chaotic dreams following Hurricane Sandy.”  Her hope for the piece, “to have it feel like a continuous stream of consciousness—a dream—a movie,” was achieved.

Danced to select music from the soundtrack of “The Great Beauty,” it incorporated redundant segments of action and feelings which would not go away.  The fragmented scenes, eerie electronic and piano music, and  effective lighting by Dennis Dugan, combined to create the desired image of a fracture dream.

The slight but powerful newcomer, Michael Marquez, continued to impress with his strong movements, controlled precision and fluidity.   Attractive Lauren Garson, the other company neophyte, fit seamlessly into the strong female corps  of Felise Bagley and Annika Sheaff displaying strong dance moves and a complete performance vocabulary.

“Ghost Opera” is a brilliant dance and theatrical experience.   Combining live music and ancient theatrical methods, it left an indelible impression.

The piece, Shimotakahara’s re-imagining of Tan Dun’s master work, brings spirits from the past present and future, from east and west culture, from nature and technology, together into an emotionally satisfying presentation.

First danced at the Cleveland Institute of Music on June 28, 2014, this is a piece that should be a permanent fixture in the Groundworks lexicon of works.

The multi-textured piece found the musicians (Solomon Liang, Andra Belding, Aaron Mossburg, Erica Snowden and Yihan Chen) moving from place to place on stage, interweaving with the dancers, filmy curtains and spectacular lighting effects by Dennis Dugan.   Using water in bowls, paper, Asian instruments such as the Pipa, and traditional Western musical instruments, they set a perfect mood for the performers’ use of Oriental hand, arm, leg and body movements.

A highlight segment of the dancing was an extended duet by the ever proficient Felise Bagley and Michael Marquez.   A wonderful segment centering on the manipulation of a large box was filled with humor and skill.

Capsule Judgement: An appreciative audience expressed their pleasure as the  final curtain fell on Groundworks Spring Concert at Breen Auditorium.  The company continues to smoothly integrate new dancers into their membership without losing any of their precision and living up to their motto of “Imagination You Can See.” 

Performance dates were:  March 18 and 19, 2016 at Breen Center for the Performing Arts

IT TAKES TWO…annual fundraiser
Seven local celebrities will be featured in fantastic and fun duets with seven GroundWorks artists. 2016 Celebrity Dancers
¥    Margaret Richards Frankel, Dentist, Richards Frankel Dentistry
¥    Ian Friedman, Attorney, Friedman & Nemacek, LLC
¥    Brian Marita, Managing Partner, Ciuni and Panichi
¥    Heidi Gartland, Vice President, Government & Community Relations, University Hospitals
¥    Kristen Morris, Chief Government and Community Relations Officer, Cleveland Clinic
¥    August A. Napoli Jr., Deputy Director and Chief Advancement Officer, Cleveland Museum of Art
¥    Sylvia Pérez, VP for Corporate Governance and Governmental & International Affairs, The Cleveland Foundation
Matt Zone, Cleveland City Councilman

¥    When: Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
¥    Where: The Cleveland Museum of Art
¥    Parking: Free indoor parking provided
¥    Suggested Attire: Casual, Cool, Cocktail

For information about GroundWorks go to http://www.groundworksdance.orgor call 216-751-0088