"I have the opportunity to rehearse with these dancers and reap the benefits of their contributions to my own work on a regular basis. Now they have the opportunity to have the same exchange with each other and a little guidance from me." says Margi Cole, Founder and Artistic Director of The Dance COLEctive of her upcoming show COLEctive NOTIONS 2013. Cole elaborates in a preview session during a rehearsal with the company this afternoon that this show is all about the creative process for the dancers. This is their chance to take the reigns.
Dancer Olivia May presents a work entitled, No leaves Tall Trees, a dance for four movers, three bodies in the space, and several set pieces including a table and chairs, a notebook, and a wooden bench. The piece is short and sweet, complete with feminine white lace dresses on all of the dancers and several selections of country-western inspired music. Fiddle and violin sounds fill the room as May's choreography is sparsley driven by the music; just enough to provide a refreshing partnership of music and dance to a sometimes overly ambient-noise-filled Chicago dance scene. May keenly keeps the movement stricly minmal and pedestrian though, avoiding a "routine-y" feel and her adventurous staging includes the dancers in multiple facings, acknowledging all parts of the audience (to be situated on at least two sides of the performance space). May is on to a touching and gentle feel and has the seeds to what could be a much longer, more robust piece of dance-theater.
Shannon Edwards' work Chronicles of Nostalgia presents a disjointed world with three different stories from the performers. The piece begins as an instruction booklet of sorts, in how to deal with a breakup or the loss of a loved one. Dancers suggest "replacing" the loved one with language that seems unconnected and cold. The use of songs that conjure distinct memories is perhaps Edwards' smartest move. She includes selections like "Happy Birthday", and some 90's jock-jam-y music to create a specific mood and add some humor to the serious piece. Strong images like dancers placing fingers at their mouths and blowing (what, we never find out for sure...is it birthday candles? Is it a balloon? Or puffy white dandelion seeds?) allow audience to imagine specific instances, perhaps from their own, nostalgic memories. Chronicles does a simple job of creating the idea of nostalgia but perhaps does not match Edwards' own, very memorable performance of nostalgia in Cole's previous work, Moving Stories, presented as a part of The FlySpace series at the Pritzger Pavillion back in April, 2013.
Also on the bill is a duet by dancer Katie Petrunich entitled, Running Parallel, an exploration in lifelong relationships, and a work by Cole incorporating an exciting opportunity for audience to participate in some curating activity of their own.
While the works seem new and under-explored (there's just never enough time, is there? Here's to hoping the dancers will take it upon themselves to expand the works, as I'd love to see them at multiple stages), see these well-planted seeds of work, by attending COLEctive NOTIONS 2013, November 1-3 (at 8pm on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2, and at 7 pm on Sunday, Nov. 3) at the Fassaeus White Box Theater at the Drucker Center (1535 N. Dayton). General admission is $15, $10 for students and seniors. For tickets and more information click here.