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STILL WITHIN-February 20, 1999

Food For Thought-a conglomeration of area choreographers who have been meeting weekly to show and discuss their work-directed by NYC choreographer, Gina Gibney, presented 4 performances this weekend at Cleveland State University-with support from CSU, DANCECLEVELAND, and some foundations. Admission was 2 cans of food-donated to the Food Bank. The works ranged from humerous to post-modern to spiritual... I made a structured improvisational piece called Still Within based on 2 stillnesses i "uncovered" in Authentic Movement practice and 1 stillness gleaned during a choreographers' workgroup session. i knew where i started and where i ended...the rest was improvised. Ultimately the piece became more and more "set", leaving only the resolution to the ending up to me to find in the moment, but i also had total freedom to follow any impulse that might come up in performance... Some of the feedback i got from fellow choreographers included images of an ancient woman, the Oracle at Delphi, someone coming back to life from the dead, emerging/growing out of the earth, a message, a warning... I felt it was a lot about being comfortable and happy in my own inner world, but also feeing a need/desire to reach out, be seen, to connect with the outer world. Kind of amorphous, but also a clear sensation from which to start moving... I worked with a wonderful musician-percussionist, N. Scott Robinson, who has an amazing knack for "being with" me-our energies really connect when we dance/play together-it's quite gratifying-we both love to improvise-to have the freedom to be totally responsive on stage-to follow and lead eachother. Improvising on stage is a little scary, but I'm glad I do it!

Here is KaroL's review of this Food for Thought Concert from The Cleveland State Cauldron

Let's Dance

By KaroL

Food for Thought...Yummy!


CSU proudly presented the third annual FOOD FOR THOUGHT concert this past weekend. Thanks to the hard work of Lynn Deering, FOOD FOR THOUGHT was presented in a new venue, CSU's own lovely Drinko Hall.

The choreographers for FOOD FOR THOUGHT have been working together for three months to produce the show presented this weekend. They gave each other critique and lots of constructive feedback.

The choreographers additionally used their skills to create community service projects for schools and even prisons. They also collected food for the hungry in our community. On top of all that, they put on one very impressive show. In fact, I think that this was the best FOOD FOR THOUGHT yet.

16 choreographers presented 15 different pieces over the course of three nights. There was so much good stuff that I must start by apologizing for not mentioning everyone. You were all faboo!

One nice thing about the modern dance community is that we get to see amazing diversity.

Susan Edwards had the audience rolling with laughter with her witty duet APARTMENT #4. Instead of music, Ned Gallaway spoke text from Sam Shepard's poems from the play Savage/Love: Beggar and How I Look to You. Ned paced across the stage and slid across the floor on his back while reciting. Susan ignored Ned and his potent monologue about communication, and danced around him in chunky shoes with, galloping, rocking, petulant child-like movements. Like her previous work, APARTMENT #4 had psychological insights. This time, however, any darkness was pushed away by the light-heartedness of the piece, and totally blown away by the surprise happy ending.

EMAPTHY, a powerful and feminine piece choreographed by Paloma McGregor featured strong curved forms that ran through rhythmic rising and falling motions and had a strong African influence. The dance was performed to the dynamic drumming, breathing and vocalizations of writer and multi-media artist Rafeeq Abdur-Shareef.

Elaine Dowing obviously owns cats. Her representative piece THE BLACK CAT BLUES, danced with Bridget Biliunas, was slinky, and very feline. One dancer flicked her wrist the way a cat does the end of it's tail. The other dancer went offstage for a moment, and returned with a mouth full of yellow feathers. Even the dog-lovers in the audience liked this one.

FACING by Sarah Morrison and Regina Williams was a marvel of textures and contrasts. The piece flickered between duets and solos. There was a Zen moment when no one was on stage. The stiff vertical, angular motions of the beginning mellowed into loose circular forms, including a nice contact oriented hip-toss exchange. I don't even have room to go into the costume changes during the performance.

Some Modern Dance pieces have a surreal, dream-like quality. 240 No. 6 PLAIN ENVELOPES by Melissa Miller was all that and more. The quartet started by moving linearly sideways. in a line across the front of the stage, passing envelops conveyer style. The envelopes get dropped, picked up and redistributed, using all of the stage. The music, composed by Robert Prebe, starts out industrial. His collage of sound then shifted to more bucolic natural sounds. The dancers' motions became softer in response. One dancer swept the envelopes with a broom. Another lay on her back, and waved stacks of envelopes in the air, clutched between her toes. Finally, the dancers trade an envelope for a pair of rubber gloves, and the dancers sit in a circle, seriously inspecting their envelopes. Best dream I've had in months.

If 240 No. 6 PLAIN ENVELOPES was dream-like, STILL WITHIN by Colleen Clark was borderline hallucinatory. Part of this feeling came from the exotic sounds that N. Scott Robinson evoked from a large frame drum. Using his fingertips in curious manners, Scott managed to draw otherworldly, Hendrix-like tones from his drum. Andrew Kaletta's exquisite side lighting was subdued and painterly, adding to the psychedelic illusion.

The piece started with Colleen lying on the stage on her side, with one arm in the air. Even though she was draped in a shimmering piece of silvery cloth, we could see no motion, not even breathing. It's difficult to convey how powerful her stillness was. When she started moving, the contrast was startling. Her slightest motion seemed magnified by its contrast to her stillness. Rarely have I seen a more focused performance by an artist.

Another mind-blowing piece was HALFLIFE , choreographed and danced by Carey Kelly and Erin Leigh. The scenic design by Jerry Mann featured three movie projectors. The dancers in incredibly tight unison, moved with with stiff bodies and loose arms. The three projectors threw flickering highly textured squares on the wall. The dancers, dressed in white, were 3-D movie screens, while the dancers' dark shadows played on the walls. This was quite a delightful light show.

Well, Dang! My column is already over, and there's so much I didn't get to mention. However, I would be remiss not to send out a special thanks Tom Ward of DANCECleveland who co-sponsored this event. Also, many, many thanks to the program's director, Gina Gibney, Job very well done Gina! I hope we get to see more next year.

If you missed FOOD FOR THOUGHT and still have a dance paper to turn in, or you just can't get enough dance, Holly Labbe is presenting her MFA concert at Mather Dance Center on the CWRU campus this weekend. Shows are Thu., Fri, Sat. at 8:00 p.m., and there is a matinee on Sunday at 2:30.

Don't forget to dance!

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