Imaginative choreography collides with extraordinary emotions in Dance Ethos with The West Shore Piano Trio. Artistic director Tiffany Haughn’s collaboration with several local, innovative dance visionaries, allowed her to curate an enlightening, riveting, touching contemporary dance show. Elaborately crafted movements connected the audience to each ensemble member as the body of work explored a wide array of expressive range-from life to death, and what lies in between.
“What Touches Will Dissolve” was a brilliant opening sequence. The simplistic costumes, coupled with the bold lighting selections, coordinated by Annie Choudhury, provided an excellent platform for choreographer Rick Westerkamp’s harmonious movements. Poet Sarah D. Lawson’s words took flight as she invited the audience to “love fearlessly.” Soulful connection was epically embodied by gentle touches from head to head, hand to heart. The ensemble exemplified their ability to get lost in the moment, as they transitioned from movement to movement, seeking even deeper connectivity to each other in a profound manor. Capturing the essence of raw emotions, the choreography led the audience to question whether or not love is worth the ultimate sacrifice – loss of self.
DanceEthos with The West Shore Piano Trio
Directed by Tiffany Haughn
Choreography: Ronya-Lee Anderson, Tiffany Haughn, Felipe Oyarzun, Erica Rebollar, Deborah Riley and Rick Westerkamp
Composer: Michael Aaron
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Perhaps the most profound movement of the evening was “In Memory Of.” Eve, the essence of femininity herself, plays a pivotal role assisting ensemble members as they attempt to discover the reason for their quirky exteriors. Yet one woman decided to take a journey of self-discovery when she realizes her immense sense of vulnerability could be the reason for her unraveling. She is in an abusive relationship and desperately needs to dig her way out of despair. Somber moments segue to the most sublimely choreographed fight sequence between the battered wife and the domineering husband. With each tumble and shove, I could feel the tears streaming down my cheek as “The Look of Love” played in the background. Choreographer Felipe Oyarzun is a true visionary. His ability to juxtapose a truly horrifying event with soothing melodies, and breathtaking choreography proved utterly captivating. The audience was held in suspense as we clung to hope that the woman would survive.
A continuous wave of emotions flowed throughout the show in the musical selections as well as the sequence of performances. Each powerful piece was immediately followed by a light-hearted one, a perceptive decision on Ms. Haughn’s part. The West Shore Piano Trio played a critical role in creating climactic performances, from the fluidity of “Fleeting” to the sultry tango fit for nine, “Piazzolla.” Choreography gracefully reflected each musical note in perfect synchronization.
Essentially, Dance Ethos with The West Shore Piano Trio captured the purest essence of balance. Choreography, lighting, costumes, live accompaniment, and spoken word elements created captivatingly unforgettable performances throughout the night.