Rituals in Motion: Drum beats and Footsteps
October 30th, 2015
This year's third annual fall concert of the VashtiDance Theater was themed 'Living Light in Dark Places". The evening began with an ensemble piece featuring Fatima Logan and members of the company which felt like a Greek Chorus welcoming you to another world. Clever wardrobe changes, stage lights, and dramatic undulating movements flooded the stage with a stirring performance. The dichotomy of light to darkness was a theme throughout the evening, providing elements of good versus evil. At one point the dancers are overtaken by some Bacchic frenzy, only to later be released when the purveyors of good and evil struggle for power and good prevails. The lead dancers would spin and shake surrounded by a chorus of jumps and turns. Staggering, sharp movements become soft and fluid again, leaving the audience to feel wrapped up in a warm familiar blanket after shivering in the cold unknown. The drum beats made way for a procession of tribal motion.
The concert was also a showcase for a few special guest choreographers. Amrita Doshi and Arshya Gurbani classical Indian dance completely filled the theater with an exotic light. Their precise and flawless choreography coupled with animated facial expressions, were not only impressive to watch but told the audience a story. This story was infused with percussive footwork and graceful, balanced poses.
Satomi Itohara's "Fragment of Matter" with Craig Dionne was simply magic. Itohara entered the stage with an unassuming charisma and effortless strength. Then, when joined by Dionne, the pair became like two branches of the same tree- swaying and moving in natural synchronization. The accompanying music made it easy to feel light. There were moments when the dancers were hitting the ground with hands and feet that felt like an ancient ceremony was taking place. Tight percussion complemented intricate footwork and creative lifts. Itohara's choreography has a dynamic energy which certainly underscored the evening's theme of light out of darkness. Itohara and Dionne together are a compelling match; with the evidence of fine-tuned technique and unaffected artistry. I am excited to see what this pair brings to future performances.