I am not a dancer, really. Despite taking two years of dance in high school and scoring my own solo in 2014’s Fringe smash hit The Tournament, I would not consider myself an expert on the subject. Theatre I know well, but dance is a foreign language. It’s beautiful, I enjoy it, but I don’t always know exactly what it’s about.
So bear with me as I attempt to deconstruct the eight pieces that make up Errant Movement’s Connectivity/Complexity.
Out of the eight dance pieces presented, half were choreographed by Errant Artistic Director Rachel Turner, half were world premieres, and all were originally mounted within the last three years. Ignoring the current trend of flash and sparkle that dance seems to be entrenched in, this show put out a much more technically impressive dance piece than I am used to. More grounded than the “throw someone in the air” shows that other companies perform, this all female cast still showed an impressive number of lifts.
The first piece, “For Now, We Walk”, used the space very well, with dancers breaking the planes of the stage. The lighting was simple, but effective, and really made the moments of stillness pop. The “unison” moments could have used a few more rehearsals, but this being their first show in two weeks, I totally understood.
Second brought us “Breath Withheld”, a piece I interpreted as an oddball’s descent into conformity. Breath came complete with the best costumes of the night, complex and unified movement, and beautiful moments of solitude.
Performed by Errant Dance Company
Turner’s first piece, and the first world premiere of the show, is “Verve”, a majestic solo piece that I can only criticize for the dancers being understandably out of breath. Though the breathing was distracting, I was completely in the moment with the artist as she moved through a truly remarkable piece.
“It’s Complicated” was the next Rachel Turner world premiere, which opens with an absolutely amazing solo. Over the course of the piece, three dancers are used as set props which the main character manipulates. This piece had my favorite music, but the dance itself became quickly repetitive; with one dancer repeatedly moving the others in the same fashion on a loop. The ensemble, however, was brilliant in their stillness and their responsiveness.
“Memory’s Shadow”, another Rachel Turner world premiere, had the most technically impressive dancing of the evening. This emotional, two person piece had the best unison of the evening but, by far, the worst lighting.
“Sifu” had great costumes and a fantastic song, but the dancers were never fully together. Often off-unison, this piece was indicative of the whole show: it felt like the whole thing needed a few more rehearsals.
“Girl, Interrupted” starts heavy IMMEDIATELY. The opening vocals let you know you are about to be taken through an emotional ride. The dancers do an amazing job of characterization, sending us deep into a world we don’t want to be in. By far the strongest finale of the night, this may have been my favorite piece.
Turner’s final world premiere was the titular piece, which featured some great ensemble work. Clocking in at 19 minutes, this possibly political piece was prop-heavy but lacked in the feelings it tried to induce.
Overall, Connectivity/Complexity was poorly lit, with few “wow” dance moments. The show relied heavily on movements that would be much better showcased in a smaller space like Lab 2, rather than in the larger Elstad Auditorium at Gallaudet. The transitions were among the worst I’ve seen in Fringe, with minute-long blackouts holding the space captive. With only three shows total, the last of which has already been performed at the time of this writing, a lot of the blame might be placed on the 16 day hiatus the team had to endure.
I am, however, always a fan of dance. Though you may want to leave your friends behind, future performances by Errant Movement might be well worth catching.