Arts » Theater + Dance

Review: Cultivate: A Choreographer's Showcase



3 stars

Motus Dance Theatre, White Rabbit Cabaret; Nov. 19-21. A splendid showcase of eight emerging modern choreographers whose 10-minute or less works had to fit onto a stage not much larger than a 1-car garage. Themes converged around survival, emerging individuality, introspection, community, and connecting with place, space, time and light. Over the past three months, process and production merged, with Motus Dance Theatre providing production and promotion support and each juried choreographer casting, costuming and rehearsing in the Motus teaching space. A company of 17 dancers (including some of the choreographers) did a fine job adapting to a variety of styles and changing configurations of dancers as they literally jumped in and out of costumes perfectly designed to fit the theme of each dance. Katelin Ryan set six dancers in seemingly doppelganger pairings and mini-dramas to music by Adam Crawley for "This is (not me)." Kathleen Batt created "Being and Becoming," moving dancers in two, threes, fours and individually through meditative, angst-ridden and conciliatory moments to music by George Winston, Yo-Yo Ma & Bobby McFerrin, and the Kronos Quartet. Amanda Clark's fast-paced "Primal," set to music by Wax Tailor and Afro Celt Sound System, had seven dancers working on their own and in progressions of alliances as they worked out alpha leadership. For "Streams of Consciousness," Amie Dillon layered, interwove and scattered movement ideas for three dancers to grasp, hold onto and let go, as they reacted to each other and to music by AshiaGrzesik performed by the Portland Cello Project. Joanna Paul set "Shadows are an Evidence of Light" to a Stevie Ray Vaughn recording of Jimi Hendrix. Two dancers, as opposites in costume colors, shifted in and out of light/shadows in progressions of holds, escapes, changing shapes and sizes and ultimately melted into light/darkness. Carrie Gaerte created a comedic ballet to music by Yeah YeahYeahs for an audience ovation "Heads Will Roll" when a mean-spirited, manipulative Queen is overthrown by four subjects, one of which triumphantly claims the throne. McKenzie Baird set "Falling" to Cirque Du Soleil music, creating a series of virtual acrobatic scenes for four dancers working from risers. Set to music by Pink Martini, Stefanie Squint paced three dancers through an exotic lifespan of butterflies in "Flutter of Anticipation." The entire cast converged and did their "personal thing" for a fun-filled "The Bow" choreographed by Heidi Keller Phillips to music by Mum. Follow "Cultivate" at


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