Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ends and Edges

Ends and Edges- A professional dance showcase presented by Terpiscore Dance. This is the second year that Maria Tzianabos has gathered together many artists and performers from all over Southern Maine and New Hampshire. Why does she organize a showcase instead of performing just her own work? Tzianabos is continuing the legacy that Maine dancer Lisa Hicks began many years ago when she created Modern Feats- a showcase performance hosted by her studio called New Dance.

For many small dance companies it's prohibitively expensive to put together a concert, so offering dancers a chance to perform in a showcase without incurring the expense is very popular. Interestingly, I think many audience members enjoy the variety of seeing many groups with divergent dance styles. On this bill eight distinct modern dance groups were featured.

From Terpiscore came three pieces. A sweepingly lyrical duet Not By Choice choreographed by Tzianabos and performed with Jill Eng, brought together two skilled dancers whose quiet strength and control were compelling to watch. A trio Deluge by Wendy Getchell featured three technically strong dancers, Robin Behl, Emily Getchell and Robyn Nast. And the third piece was a wonderful dance performed by the Terpiscope Repertory Class that featured nine dancers.

From New Hampshire-choreographers and dancers Patricia Harms and Christine Simes used three versions of the classic song "Que Sera" that Doris Day made popular, to highlight their choreographic vision in Feminine Mystique. Moving between rivalry to quirky tenderness the dance showed the strong chemistry between the dancers. The versions of the song they danced to were by Pink Martinis, Wax Tailor and the Holly Cole trio.

Collective Motion performed Swept choreographed by Joshua Robinson. I reviewed this company last year and this dance was my favorite piece from that concert. I checked back on my notes form last year - "The standout piece of the evening was "Swept...(Section 2)" by Josh Robinson for six dancers. Robinson used the lively music of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and wonderful costumes by Douglas B. MacDonald to cast a joyous background for the dance. The dancers moved effortless with fluidity, strength and grace to highlight this companies exceptional technical skills. I loved that it was pure movement without storytelling. The dancers shined as they performed very demanding steps. There were no awkward moments, it was sheer delight."

Portland dancer Jill Eng presented two dances, a solo that was a study or an exercise as she titled it, and a duet co-choreographed with Ron Botting. The solo showed off her technical skills as she moved as if in a ballet class where dancers tackle demanding movements in studied and composed ways. Then her duet featured the opposite; a dynamic, breezy character that convinces a reserved Botting to partner and dance with her. The duet Lancaster Street was sweet and fun to watch. Above photo by Arthur Fink.

Maine veteran performers Karen Montanaro and Debi Irons as well as new comers Sonar and IndieDanceWorks rounded out a very dynamic, eclectic and well performed evening of dance. Bravo!

Ends and Edges, Portland Stage, June 11, 2011