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Austin welcomes Sling Dance Project

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Sling Dance Project produces the first of a new dance series for Austin, Glimmer in a Room at Café Dance, July 18th and 19th, 2014. Sling Dance Project is a dance organization formed by the collaboration of Julia Duffy-Dzubinski and Amanda Leigh Oakley. They are Austin choreographers committed to producing the new works coming forward in our community, inclusive of all dance and performance styles. Ms Dzubinski produced the well received No Assurance dance series over the past three years. The evidence of Glimmer in a Room is that this new conjunction of dance forces is auspicious indeed.

“Leer” by Hannah Brightwell, is an expert piece of advanced technique, well rehearsed. Perfectly timed, invisible cuing began and ended unison phrases interspersed with chaotic passages. This is an exceptionally strong piece to begin a program.

“Through the Veil” by Randi Leigh Turkin seems to be the story of souls coming to earth by way of pregnancy and childbirth. The piece shows excellent use of technique and gesture. The floor work is especially evocative, and the piece as a whole is tinged with a sense of tragedy with its suggestions that some souls fail to make it through that veil. Amanda Stevens makes good use of her actual pregnancy as a partner and shape maker in the piece. Fortunate one, her child will have a dance performance resume at birth.

“Reminiscence” by Amnih Banaitis is a solo performed by newcomer Samantha Waugh. The dance is a standout for its
series of backward spiraling turns, beautiful and exquisite for their difficulty alone. As punctuation to this mad dance of spirals, the performer deliberately seems to lose her balance and fall, addressing the floor emphatically in expressions of emotional distress or failure. But rather than an expression of failure or inability, the dance is a showcase of skill and artistic power. Ms Waugh is a performer to watch.

Emotional extremism is the theme of “Limbo’s Lost” by Roman Morgan, a solo performed by Mysti Jace Pride. Ms Pride builds the dance to a plateau of distress and longing. But most interestingly, the smallest, most delicate gestures convey, even in dim light far upstage. This is very impressive choreography by Mr Morgan and performance by Ms Pride.

“Four Chambers” by Amanda Leigh Oakley is a quartet, representing the four chambers of the human heart. The piece is marked by excellent technique floor work, performing unison gestures of a beating heart. And the narrative goes on from there, well abstracted, without any suggestion of miming. The piece seems to say that all four chambers must work together for one to find a full and satisfying emotional life.

“Witness” by Julia Duffy-Dzubinski is performed by four dancers, leading to the suggestion that this is a quartet, but the dancers are rarely on the stage at the same time. Thus it is better to describe the piece as an ensemble of four. Ms Duffy-Dzubinski’s work is noted for its emphasis on costumes and their symbolism. Here the costumes are varied items of everyday garb, all well matched. Their symbolic role seems to set the piece in workaday life, and the movements of the dance abstract several real-life situations.

Altogether, the pieces in Glimmer in a Room speak of the directions this new, welcomed Sling Dance Project seeks to pursue. As for it’s potential, a popular song phrases it best: “The future’s so bright…..”

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