Stephen Raikes, Lisa Stoller, Amanda Will, Jennifer Obeney, Jaclyn Brewer Poole, Paula Ulery-Reynolds, Courtney Beacham, Erin Boone, Lea Essmyer, Colleen Pagnotta, Addison Reed, Brandon McGee, Whitney Hart, Rachel Meador, Koreyci Barreto, Haylee Barganier, and Emillie Skinner
Reviewed Performance 3/8/2014
Reviewed by Joel Taylor, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Sidewalk Stories uses modern and ballet dance to present different perspectives on a variety of urban experiences. Each scene has unique choreography; costuming, lighting design, and music that assist the dancers bring the audience into the scene. Some of the dances use more props, while others have lighting designs to project shadows on the screen upstage for a shadowy effect, or a flowing pattern of light on the floor to portray moving water.
The performance opens with Round of Regulars, a dance set in a sidewalk café. Two male and female couples sit at small tables set together, having a beer. Another couple is seated at a table down left, while the table down right has one lone occupant, draped over the table as if she’s had too much to drink. The four female dancers alternately rise and dance to present happiness at finding love, anguish and anger at missing someone or being out on a bad date. While their movement is fluid and brought me into the story, there are a few things that create a disconnection from the story and are distracting. The couples sitting in the back are interacting and conversing with each other, but it is not consistent, engaging or adds to the dance. There are unopened beer bottles on the tables, but only one dancer actually opens and drinks from the bottle, while the rest pretend to drink from theirs.
Each of the subsequent dances, “Tango, Tango”, “The Last Dream”, “Sunday in the Park”, “Come Back To Me”, “Souvenir” and “The Lyra”, rely less on props and more on the music and dance movements, with an occasional lighting enhancement to present the passion and story.
Many of the dancers are expressive through only their movements, keeping their faces almost emotionless. It is primarily the younger dancers who express more of the passion of the dance through their eyes and face, which creates a much bigger emotional impact and connection.
The dancing in all seven numbers is superb. The fluid ways the dancers interact with each other, telling the story with subtle movements of the head or arm, a leap or fall, cannot be fully appreciated with only my words. Sidewalk Stories shows that skilled dancing artistry can also present stories that pull you in, even without spoken dialogue.
Contemporary Ballet Dallas
Final performances on Wednesday, March 12th at 7:30 pm, and Saturday, March 15th at 2:00 pm