My Dear Dance Loving Readers!
If you weren't in class or in bed at 11:15 this morning, you could have been at the opening ceremony of the Festival! (provided your bed is in Rochester)
The lawn of the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery was littered with local news team cameras, community members and lots of kids. I love that dance events always have so many children in the audience-because kids? Kids get dance. :) If you ever feel like dancing-go to the nearest child and ask for a twirling lesson.
The Festival topic is centered around the question, "What is dance?". I was eager to get a taste of this topic during this opening, however I suppose I will have to wait for the panel discussions later in the week. The speeches were mainly brief and to the point, and while all the local politicians, art directors, and academics were highlighted, I was most excited to see Bill Wade, choreographer and artistic director of Inlet Dance Theater. He introduced his dancers to lead the crowd in a traveling improvisation line of follow the leader. This was a creative way to teach flocking to a large number of people all at once, and I thought it was a fun idea.
However, I still wish that Mr. Wade had taken the opportunity to expose a little bit about his company and his philosophy. Even talking about improvisation and what improvisation means to dancers, would have been an interesting addition to the ceremony. All the same, the festival goers were up and making dance happen on the bright Saturday afternoon. I was really impressed with the participation of my hometown. The audience followed Inlet's dancers from stage to stage, down University Ave.'s ArtWalk.
Stage One: A performance by the Chinese Dance School of Rochester satisfied the crowd with traditional celebration drum dancing. By far this was the cutest and youngest of this afternoon's performances.
Stage Two: Converge-a Nazareth born dance company that has since split off to have their first independent performance recently, was a great example of community modern dancing. Their choreography was very simple and casual, but they seemed to have a good time. The artistic director mentioned that their performance of new work "1975" was a work in progress. I think it's great to have the community involved, but Converge didn't seem as ready as I would hope for the opening festival of their Alma mater.
Stage Three: FuturPoint Dance! I just had the pleasure of watching this company about two weeks ago at Triskilion Arts' WAXworks program in Brooklyn. Guy Thorn is an energetic and youthful choreographer and dancer, and you can see the fusions and influences of Fagan technique, ballet, & street dance. They had great energy on their home turf and I really felt their joy for what they do. I am interested to see the progression of this company here in Rochester and beyond. The dancers are full of passion and energy, but I am interested watch them solidify their own vocabulary as they continue to grow. They have show stopping dance moves and amazing presence that can't be denied. I trust that they will use those tools to further deepen their own artistic repertoire.
On tonight's menu, I'm off to see Inlet perform at Nazareth's Callahan Theater.