The wind, gently blowing, a rustle, crack of canvas stretching out, sails creaking— dancers flowing over the stage, you can almost smell the sea air. Watching the rehearsal for “Sail” this morning, we were reminded of the power of dance to tell a story without words, to evoke feelings, all through body movements. The energy on the stage was palpable, and even without lighting and costumes, the vision was clear. This is just one of the six pieces that will be performed in Mikautadze Dance Theatre (MDT)'s production “Reflections,” on May 20 and 21 at IPFW Williams Theater.
The custom soundscape accompanying “Sail” was actually made from sounds gathered at home by Artistic Director/Choreographer Elizabeth Mikautadze and her husband, musical director David Mikautadze two years ago when the piece first premiered. This time around Hope Arthur, a local musician and composer, along with a small ensemble of singers, will provide vocal accompaniment along with the soundscape. We can’t wait to see the costumes and set design combine to take the vision even further on opening night.
MDT was established with the goal of blending multiple art forms— from different kinds of dance, to various mediums. Primarily modern and contemporary pieces are performed, and each year a big show is put on, “not quite a variety show, but kind of." The first year was all new material, and now for the fourth year, some material is being revisited, an artistic look back on the highlights and audience favorites; a reflection, if you will.
The show is seamless with performances by musicians and sometimes informative demonstrations. The transitional work between sets helps achieve MDT’s collaborative mission, along with the involvement of passionate individuals — 13 musicians and 7 dancers will take the stage at the end of May. Several collaborations are involved as well, this year MDT worked with the Austrian production company Saitnkini, comprised of Ulrich Schleicher and Andre Schwarzl. They helped to come up with concepts and feelings for the show during Skype chats with Hope, Kurt, and Elizabeth.
"It was so exciting to take part in a collaboration where we felt were all on the same wavelength. And the fact that it was inter-continental was invigorating." — Hope Arthur
“Schreimoment” — the opening piece of Reflections, is a collaboration with Saitnkini and Silbo Gomero, comprised of Hope Arthur and Kurt Roembke. It is a journey through the human psyche, and many years with a lack of self reflection. Until finally, the moment when the true voice must be heard, and after keeping silent for too long, it screams for attention. Schreimoment translates from German as “scream moment,” or, "moment of screaming."
A new principal dancer, Nina Shaw, will be featured in a very athletic showcase piece with the percussionist Colin Boyd titled "Relentless Rush." “Passage,” a fan favorite, will feature music by Philip Glass. The closing number will include a soundtrack of The Manchester Symphony Orchestra playing Debra Lynn’s “The Kandinsky Suite," an orchestral score based on three Kandinsky paintings, which will be displayed throughout the performance. All but one of the pieces of the night include costumes made by MDT’s go to designer since 2012, Jeanne Pendleton.
Even if you're not a dance connoisseur, "Reflections" presents an approachable introduction to this artistic expression. All ages are welcome, and as each piece moves quickly with its own theme and music, there is never a chance to get bored. This performance brings such an array of visual, creative, and artistic expression, it truly is one of a kind.
Get your tickets here.
For a short sneak peak of "Schreimoment," check out Mikautadze Dance Theatre's Facebook.
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Photos by Tony Frantz