A woman's touch: Choreographers from near and far take part in Seattle Dance Project's 'Project 4'
Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times
January 27, 2011
Photo © Alan Alabastro
Watching a dance in rehearsal is a little like watching a sculptor at work. Each gesture, down to the tiniest turn of the head, raise of an eyebrow or flutter of the fingers, has to be shaped or polished until the final effect is achieved.
So it's not a surprise that a choreographer would be inspired by sculpture itself. That's the case with Stacy Lowenberg's "Rodin," one of five pieces by female choreographers featured in Seattle Dance Project's (SDP) "Project 4" this weekend and next.
Lowenberg is a Pacific Northwest Ballet dancer who, this week, announced her retirement from the company. "Rodin," she says, was triggered by a visit to the Villa des Brillants, a part of the Musée Rodin, where the sculptor had his studio in his later years.
"He lived there with artists — it was like an artists' mansion," Lowenberg says. Isadora Duncan was one of his visitors there, and Lowenberg sees significance in that.
"I could tell he was inspired by, obviously, dancers in his movement," she says. "Even 'The Kiss' has movement and love and emotion. And that's what I love to choreograph: love and emotion."
"Rodin" is a pas de deux for Michele Curtis, a founding member of 3-year-old SDP, and David Alewine, an SDP newcomer, formerly of Spectrum Dance Theater, where he was an undisputed star, and more recently a regular at the 5th Avenue Theatre, where he's appeared in seven productions and served as associate choreographer for "On the Town."
Set to Philip Glass' piano piece "Metamorphosis," "Rodin" catches the collisions, careens and ricochets of attraction. "There are moments I feel could be frozen in time," Lowenberg says, "and Rodin would have loved to have made them into his sculpture."
"Rodin" is one of two pieces by local choreographers. The other is Ellie Sandstrom's "Al Poco Tiempo," set to an electronic score by Chad Beieler. It's a spooky little trio for dancer Alexandra Dickson and SDP co-artistic directors Timothy Lynch and Julie Tobiason.
Sandstrom and Lowenberg are in good company with choreographers Molissa Fenley, Hilde Koch and Heidi Vierthaler. Seattle audiences got a taste of Fenley's duet, "Planes in Air," last December at Fremont Abbey Arts Center. It's one in a series of "prop dances" the New York choreographer recently created. The props in this case are two enormous balsa-wood fans that dramatically extend the range of the movement.
Koch, who has collaborated with Nacho Duato and William Forsythe, stages the Seattle premiere of her first ballet "Torque," set to a score by Arvo Pärt and created initially for Dantzaz Konpainia (based in Koch's birthplace: San Sebastián, Spain). Vierthaler, a former PNB dancer, brings back "Surfacing," a tasty brew of pattern-rich, sidewinding moves originally debuted by SDP in 2009.
Michael Upchurch: email@example.com