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Dance Place: Cafritz Foundation Theater

Remaining Performances (tickets available here):

Friday, July 17 at 7:15 p.m.
Saturday, July 18 at 1:45 p.m.
Wednesday, July 22 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 25 at 3:30 p.m.

They say: The performance features new work from dancers Emily Lynn, Erin Massie and Rachel Turner. Artistic director, Sara Herrera-Kopetchny, premieres her new work, NUMB, which touches on disbelief, loss of faith and strength due to a devastating event in one’s life.

Emily’s take: This program was pieced together using work from four choreographers in ArasDance. The pieces could broadly be grouped together in the theme of human connection and relationships, but varied widely in approach, musical choice, and choreographic vision, making the program as a whole – though populated with the same talented dancers — somewhat disjointed.

The first piece, “Jaded,” choreographed by Erin Massie, chronicles “a story of love not meant to be, the heartache once this is realized, and the ensuing detachment after naïve confidence is shattered,” according to the program notes. The show opened with Lana Del Rey’s “Diet Mountain Dew,” which works for a pop song in a sultry summer, but transitioned to Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know,” which seemed harder to take seriously, since it’s such an overwrought and overplayed choice. The six dancers spent the piece mostly in unison, in moves and formations that might have come out of a dance team competition. The abundance of synced choreography meant the smallest deviations between dancers were all the more visible, losing some of the visual interest of the more varied choreography.

The second piece, Emily Lynn’s “On the Same Page,” played more with the dancers’ movements and featured a less-familiar song selection, but the show really started to pick up with Rachel Turner’s “(Dis)connected.” The soundscape began with Apple’s iPhone chiming, as though an inconsiderate guest had forgotten to silence their phone, and morphed into a full musical piece using other sounds (like the Windows log-on melody) familiar from their ubiquity in technological devices. A pair of dancers entered pretending to tap at phone screens, danced together for a brief interlude, and returned to their air-texting as the first movement ended. They were replaced by other dancers staring at palms held up in front of them like screens, mesmerized by a futuristic, invisible world. The piece did an admirable job of conveying its theme through creative choreography without hitting the audience with an excess of tired commentary on technology and isolation in our lives.

“NUMB,” an extended exploration of loss by artistic director Sara Herrera-Kopetchny, took the last spot on the 50-minute program. It began with a duet, with two dancers lying on the floor humming what became recognizable as “You Are My Sunshine.” The first section featured little dancing and went on a bit longer than was necessary to underscore the devastation of grief. Eventually seven dancers returned to the floor, and their opposition with the lone figure downstage produced both visually interesting and thematically effective positioning, underscoring the separation from ordinary life and eventual, partial re-integration.

See it if: You like your dancing to be pure movement and music — none of this strange experimental monologue-with-movement stuff.

Skip it if: You’re especially prone to getting Gotye stuck in your head.

Image courtesy of ArasDance