Another year has waltzed by, creating a beautiful stir in the Dayton dance community. I have been privileged to bear witness to some incredible moments of sublimeness amidst the cautious backdrop of these uncertain times in regards to patronage and audience building. Now more than ever we as patrons of the arts have to reinforce our commitment to the arts in our community. While financial support is critical to keeping the lights shining, an education and connoisseurship is vital to elevating our community collectively. These moments and individuals made this year a tantalizing appetizer for a brighter future.
In no particular order:
How often do we have a goddess walking amongst us? For over forty-five years Sheri has illuminated and turned up the heat on the stages of Dayton and around the world. When they describe DCDC as a “world class” organization, they are really describing Sheri. What she brings to the world can only be attributed to the divine. Her artistry is on the level of Dame Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep and Aretha Franklin, an ageless category defying artistic genius that we are privileged to witness. She is worthy of our continued attention.
Dayton Ballet-crop of new choreographic voices
Kudos to Dayton Ballet and their commitment to elevating female choreographers in the realm of classical ballet. This season saw the beautiful work of Gina Gardner-Walther, Amy Seiwert and Susanne Payne. They released the aesthetic beauty and artistic abilities of the dancers and challenged them to new heights and we as an audience were grateful to witness.
DCDC Urban Impulse
This is what a satisfying concert looks like; one that combines community outreach and artistic ambition. It was a gamble that payed off brilliantly. I cannot imagine any lover of dance not leaving that show ecstatic.
This company came back in the fall with a concert of original works that was inspired. The luscious, diverse choreographic works that made Boll Theatre feel like Lincoln Center for a brief autumn evening.
Paul Gilliam, Dayton Ballet
A physically gifted performer who brightens the stage with charm, grace and intelligence. I have been very fortunate to briefly witness his choreographic skills. And I believe we are witnessing a diamond in the rough. Breakout star of 2014
Jammie Walker, Dayton Ballet
A welcomed soulful and passionate presence at Dayton Ballet. A dancer who can handle classical and contemporary work with ease. I look forward to seeing more of him in 2014.
Shed by Kiesha Lalama
Ms. Lalama set an energetic work that was wonderfully constructed and rendered by the dancers at DCDC. The company came roaring back to prominence with this piece and this reviewer was incredibly grateful.
Extremely Close by Alejandro Cerrudo
Okay, so this piece was performed by Cincinnati Ballet, but I would be remise in not discussing it. I had no expectations for this evening of dance at the Aronoff, but as we entered the auditorium, we were greeted with a blank stage, except for a white wall partition and a steady stream of feathers lazily drifting into a pile center stage. It took this reviewer/audience on an unexpected journey, one that we all gladly took. Note to artistic directors in Dayton this guy is worth the investment.
Prodigal Son by George Balanchine
Closing the same concert for Cincinnati Ballet was a re-staging of Prodigal Son with coaching by Edward Villlella. They delivered a bravura performance that brought down the house.
Smag Dance Collective
Congratulations on the 10th anniversary of Smag Dance Collective. The tenacious Artistic Director Michael Groomes fights for his vision of dance that is interwoven into the fabric of our community quilt. This is dance by the people and for the people. He is truly an urban visionary walking amongst us and he and the company deserve our support.
The Brown Dance Project
A poignant, funny and beautifully rendered work created by choreographer Rodney Brown and danced by members of DCDC. MODULE is an educational community outreach work that deals with HIV prevention. A brilliant example of the power of art to address social issues. I was particularly impressed by the audience Q & A afterwards and the fact that they came out on a Saturday afternoon to embrace this necessary work.
I am looking forward to several things: The choreography of DeShona Pepper Robertson for Dayton Ballet in the fall. The site specific installation piece being presented by Ohio Dance and created by Crystal Michelle Perkins. Amy Seiwert and Susanne Payne creating new choreography for Dayton Ballet. Dance concerts returning to the Blair Hall Theatre stage at Sinclair Community College. The return of DCDC to the Victoria Theatre stage and the revival of the Dayton Arts Project.
I can think of no better resolution than to see more dance. And in the immortal words of London Coe, #dateyourcity.