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SCENES & MOTIONS: Dance performances spring eternal

Give in to the mysteries

S&M #2 Modern Myths Web
Photo credit: Terminus
MODERN MYTHS: Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre.

As this was posted prior to concerns regarding the global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, please check to see if these events are still occurring. Be safe. Be healthy. Wash your hands.

“Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart.” — Martha Graham

Step outside this month, look around, and everywhere you’ll see the natural world erupting with new life and color. Now, want to witness raw human emotions in full bloom as spring floods your senses? Then seek out any of a dozen contemporary dance, movement theatre, and ballet events cascading across stages all over town throughout March.

Arts@Tech will present VIVA MOMIX at the Ferst Center, featuring a collection of acts from the company’s most visually spectacular shows, including Botanica (about the four seasons), Lunar Sea (the moon), and Opus Cactus (the landscape of the American Southwest). MOMIX is a company of dancer/illusionists founded and directed by Moses Pendleton, and their shows are perfect for all ages. I hope you are among the lucky ones to get a full rush of this troupe’s vivid eye candy in dazzling motion.

$15-$25, 7 p.m., Sun., March 1. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. Click here for more information.

The most eclectic mix of Atlanta-based dance talent on display this month takes over The Windmill stage in East Point March 5–8. Excuse The Art (ETA) highlights works-in-progress by the Windmill’s Artists-in-Residence and selected artists from the metro area. ETA was created by the members of Fly on a Wall and Windmill Arts Center owner Sam Ross. For the past several weeks, all the artists have been developing their own pieces at The Windmill with input from each other — dancers and movement artists sharing feedback with actors, actors offering drama-turgy tips to dancers, etc.

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WINDMILL ART CENTER: Blurred Lines Dance will be part of Excuse The Art. Photo credit: The Movement Lab

The four day dance series includes new works by AMT, Walter Apps, Shakira Bell/Blurred Lines Dance Company, LaMia Dingle/Reveal Movement, Nathan Griswold, Porter Grubbs and The Mediums Collective, ImmerseATL, Nicole Johnson and Jimmy Joyner, Jacob Lavoie, Asha Lu, Gianna Mercandetti, Clara Ofotokun, Olivia Rowe, Jordan Slaton, Ben Stevenson, and The Windmill’s resident theater company, Vernal & Sere. The 15 performances fill two programs that will be presented twice: Program A on Thursday and Saturday, March 5 and 7; and Program B on Friday and Sunday, March 6 and 8. The smart move is buying a $25 series ticket that gets you into both programs, plus a free cocktail each night.

$15 per Program A or B; $25 for 2 Programs. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., March 5–Sat., March 7; 4:30 p.m., Sun., March 8. The Windmill Arts Center, 2823 Church St., East Point. 470-588-6244. Click here for tickets.

It may take some serious time management during the first weekend in March, but if you can make it to Kennesaw State University’s Marietta campus Friday March 6 or Saturday March 7, you can experience Modern Myths, a captivating program of neo-classical ballet inspired by Greek mythology. This double bill includes two works by founding members and resident choreographers of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre — Under the Olive Tree by Tara Lee and Heath Gill’s Horizons. Tara Lee’s work explores the divine/human duality and the seriously flawed psyches of several Greek gods and goddesses. Lee’s fluid choreography both celebrates and opposes classical dance, ranging from stark solos to sensual pas de deux and a frenzied Dionysian scene featuring a dozen delirious dancers. The tale of Icarus’ fiery fall from the heavens inspired Gill to create Horizons. Terminus performances tend to sell out, so plan ahead.

$48.49 (premium), $32.33 (standard), and $16.16 (student). 8 p.m., Fri., March 6; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sat., March 7. Kennesaw State University Dance Theater, 1100 South Marietta Pkwy. S.E., Marietta. 470-733-8274. Click here for more information. 

Or you might consider returning to Cobb County the following Saturday, March 14, to explore The Space in Between, a performance by visiting dance company Ballet 5:8. The program features a trio of ballet works choreographed by Julianna Rubio Slager and based on novels and essays of Christian writer C.S. Lewis. Inspired by Lewis’ novel The Great Divorce, The Space in Between takes place in a town where the rain falls continuously and a man stands at a bus stop, on the brink of heaven and hell. According to Slager, “The work explores the nature of eternity and the joy found on its shores.” Also on the program, Meditations, based on the essay Meditations in a Toolshed, and Of Splendors and Horrors, inspired by a collection of Lewis’ essays and addresses, The Weight of Glory.

$15-$25. 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sat., March 14. Kennesaw State University Dance Theater, 1100 South Marietta Pkwy. S.E., Marietta. 470-733-8274. Click here for more information.

In the mood for something lighter, more of a performance sampler? Then take a whiff of Night Air, a potpourri of short and durational performances appearing in and around the historic Callanwolde mansion on Friday, March 13.  Atlanta artists include members of dance companies Prime Movers, Kit Modus, and Fly on a Wall, dancer/choreographer Corian Ellisor, aerialist Beth Del Nero, and immersive performance art by members of Mediums Collective.

$15. 7:30 p.m., Fri., March 13. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, 980 Briarcliff Road N.E. 404-872-5338. Click here for more information.

On almost any weekend, some of the most interesting live performances are taking place in theaters and on stages at area universities. That’s certainly true during the third weekend in March, with three different dance events happening simultaneously at Agnes Scott College, Emory University, and Georgia Tech on Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21, following the spring equinox.

On that Friday and Saturday night, Decatur-based Core Dance presents two (free) performances of “Manifolds” in the courtyard of the Dana Fine Arts Building at Agnes Scott. According to choreographer Rose Shields, “The work examines how the indi-vidual and the community connect with the concepts of architecture and dimension, the physical versus the abstract, and the struggle and growth that is life.” Shields created “Manifolds” in collaboration with visual artist Julia Hill and Core Dance artists. “I’m really interested in how reality appears and changes from person to person according to their unique perspectives,” says Shields. “By distorting reality in ‘Manifolds,’ I hope to spark in people the desire to be ever curious and to not be afraid to learn something new or old.”

Free. 7 p.m., Fri., March 20 and Sat., March 21. Dana Fine Arts Building Court-yard, Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur. 404-373-4154. Click here for more information.

Meanwhile, over at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory, graduate student Maria McNiece investigates themes of existentialism and religious allegory in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot. As part of her interdisciplinary research project involving dance, English, and theater scholarship, she will perform her own dance work that, in her words, “embodies questions regarding human agency.”   Hmmm. There’s a lot to ponder there. With apologies to Becket’s ever-patient Estragon, perhaps she could dance first and think afterwards.

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THE FERST CENTER: Lindsey Renea Benton (pictured), one of the choreographers who's work is featured in Dance Canvas 2020. Photo credit: Courtesy of Dance Canvas

Among the real highlights of every spring dance season is Dance Canvas, which re-turns to the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech March 20 and 21. Each year, Dance Canvas selects up to 10 choreographers from across the U.S. to create and present work through the Choreographer Career Development Initiative. Working with partners C4 Atlanta and Kennesaw State University, the choreographers also participate in workshops dealing with business development, lighting design, marketing, costuming, and public speaking. Dance Canvas 2020 will include new works by these emerging choreographers: Lindsay Renea Benton, Kaila Carter, TereLyn Jones, Elena Notkina, Catherine Messina, Austyn Rich, Peter Swan, Mary Beth Stinson, and Vanessa Zabari. More than 40 professional ballet, contemporary, and tap dancers will perform during the two-night event.

$30. 8 p.m., Fri., March 20 and Sat., March 21. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. Click here for more information.

And then there’s “enra.” A Japanese performing arts collective, enra combines contemporary dance, juggling, and martial arts. Their global touring production Dreams lands at the Ferst Center the following weekend, on Friday, March 27. Here’s how they describe their show: “Brilliant, animated computer graphics synchronize with the performers’ movements in a series of magical vignettes that transport you from the sweet beauty of a starry night to the explosive energy of a galaxy in formation, and from a world of abstract whimsy to a modern, gritty cityscape.” Sounds like hypnotic fun. I’m in.

$10-$25. 8 p.m., Fri., March 27. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. Click here for more information.

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ENRA: The Japanese performing arts collective. Photo credit: Courtesy of ENRA

I don’t know if March is coming in like a lion or going out like a lamb, but I do know this whirlwind month of dance will finish with a performance of Giselle. The Atlanta Ballet will present one of the all-time classic masterworks at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center March 27 through 29. How’s this for a romantic fever dream? After a young peasant girl named Giselle is deceived by her lover Albrecht, she dies of a broken heart. But then she rises from the grave along with the supernatural “Wilis,” the ghostly spirits of maidens betrayed by their lovers who trap any men they can seduce. The vengeful demons entice and capture Albrecht and force him to dance until he dies, but the power of Giselle’s love protects him and ultimately sets them both free. If you’re ever going to experience a full-on, over-the-top classic ballet, Giselle is a great one to submit to.

$20-$140. 8 p.m., Fri., March 27 and Sat., March 28; 2 p.m., Sat., March 28 and Sun., March 29. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy. 404-892-3303. Click here for more information.

If a month full of classic and contemporary performances doesn’t satisfy your insatiable curiosity about every kind of dance, then help yourself to an extra goth portion of “Butoh and Nature: Dance as Ecological Methodology.” “Butoh,” often translated as “dance of darkness,” rose out of the ashes of post-World War II Japan as an extreme avant-garde dance form that shocked audiences with its grotesque movements and graphic sexual allusions. The Friends of Emory Dance present a free lecture by Dr. Rosemary Candelario of Texas Woman’s University on Tuesday, March 31, in the dance studio at the Schwartz Center at Emory. A teacher and choreographer, Dr. Candelario writes about and makes dances engaged with butoh, ecology, and site-specific performance. Her lecture will focus on the various ways butoh dancers make connections between their dance and their local landscapes. 

Finally, go ahead now and mark your April calendars for the Emory Dance Company Spring Concert for Thursday through Saturday, April 16 through 18, also at the Schwartz Center. The program includes six contemporary dance works created by some of the very best student choreographers in the region.

$10. 7:30 p.m., Thurs., April 16–Sat., April 18; 2 p.m., Sat., April 18. Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Dance Studio, Emory University,1700 North Decatur Road. 404-727-5050. Click here for more information.

For me, dance is the purest of all art forms. And spring is a perfect time to give in to its mysteries. Don’t worry about what any of it means. Just let go and let the movements and sounds wash over you and see how you feel.



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