Moving People Dance Santa Fe: Moving People Too! “2008 Louder Than Words”
by Janet Eigner
Exuberance, skill, dignity and poise describe the approximately fifty students,
most eight to eighteen, a few twenty and thirty somethings,
all of whom who ran with their teacher’s ten finely-crafted and original dances:
and rolled and flipped, swung and arabesqued, torqued and spun a hundred ways.
The delicious smorgasbord created by ten instructors and performers from MPDSF
reflects the diverse dance palate offered by the school, from ballet’s delicate,
finely synchronized choruses, pas de deus and wit of Lori Brody and Christin Fields Severini’s students, to modern-jazz fusion’s many moods: squiggled torso contractions, constant movement and driving runs, taught by Fletcher Nickerson, Curtis Uhlemann, Echo Gustafson and Ronn Stewart, those modern movements slowed down and given dignity by Erica Gionfriddo’s very poised younger students, to Mike Garcia’s swinging tango duet, Kate Eberle’s aerobic-influenced adults, decorated with the flare of fringed shawls, fans and castanets on Julia Chacon’s five flamencas.
During the wait-listed and sold out concert, Moving People’s audience echoed the dancer’s exuberance. The student concerts’ performance values have grown over the years: the program skillfully alternated themes, dance types, and moods, from the three ebullient opening dances (Severini’s Lost Connections, Chacon’s Sevillanas, and Brody’s Tutu Many Girls? ) to a marathon sprint of elastic technique and drama (Uhlemann’s #14 in Green), to a Gustafson’s meditative Inchoate Sky/Florescer, (though “Incohate” needed editing and/or more zip…it dragged), to Nickerson’s altogether fresh choreographic take on patriotism, to Garcia’s loosey-goosey Swango duet, to Stewart’s gently goofy Crazy, New, Beautiful. Add elegant costumes, well-timed curtains, pauses and the dappled lighting by Todd Elmer, a slightly surreal and aesthetic through theme, uniting the works, often creating a sense of dancers underwater.
Every MPDSF has at least one choreographic jewel: this time, I’d nominate as especially outstanding the unique and nuanced modern choreography of Curtis Uhlemann’s #14 Green. The geometry of his complex groupings for eleven dancers remained clear and precise throughout a breathtaking dive into modern movement. The dancers moved like they’d oiled their joints with WD-40.
In fact, each of the dances reflected a high level of choreographic freshness and design on the part of the instructor, and on the part of every dancer, poise and mastery. What polished pleasure and dance culture Moving People Santa Fe brings to our community.
Breaking news for some of us: Roger Montoya directs a newly-opened facility for MPDSF in Espanola, already well-subscribed. Wonder of wonders, a third of the students are boys, suggesting males may no longer be listed as an endangered species in (some) dance classes.