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New Original Works Festival at Redcat

Photo: Andre Andreev.

Opening its eleventh annual NOW (New Original Works) Festival this weekend, Redcat hit the mark with three compelling new works combining dance, music, and theater.

SAANA/THE FOREIGNER, by Choreographer Wilfried Souly takes the audience on a journey of a young man coming to the US. Starting the adventurer’s odyssey in the lobby, Souly moves along a path lined by theater goers before moving to the stage. This work dramatizes the difficulty and challenges one faces when trying to immigrate to this country. Souly’s undulating body makes incredibly beautiful lines and movement in this half hour piece. You could almost imagine if some of the movements were frozen, the dancer would be a striking piece of sculpture. Emotional and expressive the piece moves from fiery tribal outbursts, to soulful rhapsody. Beginning with the dancer’s trip, showing the harsh interrogation when he marries, and finally donning a suit jacket as he assimilates into American society, this is an intensely personal and passionate piece.

Rosanna Gamson/World Wide’s STILL, is a visually exciting piece of intricately woven dance moving in and out of stunning light and shadow, creating mystery and intrigue as the artists whirl, connect and separate, creating a piece that is sometimes ethereal, sometimes kinetic. 17th century court music interlaced with new world post-rock and the sounds of a train add to the fantasy as the dancers create an illusion of the “investigation of the neuroscience of dreams” as stated on the Redcat website. The four men and two women sway leap and whirl among the shadows, while long streams of fabric, waft and move defining space and adding a dreamlike other-worldly quality to the work.

Closing out the evening was the first half hour of Overtone Industries’ ICELAND, written and composed by O-Lan Jones and Emmett Tinley. This work integrates elements of musical theater, story telling and opera featuring a twenty-person cast, including two soloists, a twelve member choir and on stage chamber orchestra. The love story set in a “mythical and timeless world” where the hero and heroine are challenged by elemental forces and ancient creatures on their journey between ancient and contemporary hidden worlds to find themselves and each other. The finished work is scheduled for a full production in 2016

This trio makes up the first three programs of the NOW festival which will continue through August 8, with new works offered each week.

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