Tuesday, August 14, 2012


By Nancy Condit

The sixth annual Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival, hosted by Perpetual Motion modern Dance company, came to a very successful close and showed four Oklahoma contemporary dance companies – performing modern, aerial and jazz dance July 27th at City Arts. After a month of classes for dancers chosen by audition, this performance brought together four Oklahoma contemporary dance companies: Living Water Dance from Tulsa, Perpetual Motion Dance from Oklahoma City, Portico Dans Theatre from Tulsa, and R.A.C.E. Dance from Oklahoma City.
Living Water Dance Company’s choreographer Rachel Bruce Johnson’s “Vice Grip,” music by Maya Beiser. was notable for the dancers’ wonderful strength and Johnson’s use of modern dance in their search and struggle.
Living Water choreographer and solo dancer Amy Roark-McIntosh performed “Until It’s Over” – an excerpt from “Let Justice Roll Down,” with music by Olafur Arnaids, well with nice control of moves covering the stage – rounding, punching, flat foot kicking, and undulating as she fought throughout the dance.
 This is a company to look forward to seeing again.
Portico Dans Theatre from Tulsa presented two pieces from their work “BorN” premiered July 13th, 2012, in Tulsa. 
Choreographers Michael J. Lopez and Jennifer Alden and company dancers, with music from “Requiem for a Dream” by Clint Mansell and The Mars Volta opened strikingly with the Goth black costumed dancers’ bowed hooded heads.
As a continuation, Portico’s “Minions,” with another excerpt from “BorN,” showed the dancers’ strength.  A man assaulted by his tragic past crouched on the stage as three jagged, angular groups of dancers buzzed angrily around him.  The costumes -- the same as in the previous piece – had Goth lace hoods that some pulled over their faces.  This dance was particularly well choreographed to the dancers’ small, slender bodies that extended well into clawlike fingers.
R.A.C.E. Dance’s slightly rechoreographed “With Thanks” was well done by Allison High.  Jennifer Martinez Stevenson’s jazz dance, music by Thirty Seconds to Mars, showed more of a learning – but with an edge -- from the four men positioned around her.

Standouts of the evening were Perpetual Motion Dance’s aerial pieces, choreographed by Kim Kieffer-Williams, “Choosing a Path,” music by Quixotic, and “Zazen,” music by Bonobo. In “Path” Williams stood at stage right with a long drape of white silk against a red backdrop, and then climbed, danced, and dropped in the silk.  “Zazen” was done on a square carousel that held four dancers as the apparatus circled the stage. They held hands while hanging by their knees from the square, and danced from loops of white silks, even holding onto the apparatus and performing splits, connecting themselves to each others loops. The dances were particularly effective combined with work on the stage floor.

“Hannah’s Journey,” choreographed by Jill Priest from U.C.O., music by Allison Krauss and performed by Perpetual Motion, was memorable for the choice of the lullaby for music, and the use of thick poles by two of the dancers to carry the third. This increased her dance possibilities, and allowing her to perform moves like walkover somersaults down the back of another dancer.
A note, Fabrice Conte, head of the fine arts department at St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee, told this writer that aerial dance classes taught by Perpetual Motion are being taught this fall at the college.

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