‘Storytelling dance journey’ unfolds at DreamAcres
Monday, July 21, 2014 4:28 PM
Strollers, cell phones, PEZ and stories…all part of very generous ignition.
Members of the DA Dance troupe perform at DreamAcres this past Friday evening, incorporating strollers into the choreography. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
“Denise has been very generous in how she allowed us to add to this piece,” said DA Dance Company member Brian Evans, speaking to the audience at DreamAcres this past Friday evening.
The audience witnessed the troupe’s performance of “Ignition,” a work of choreography that evolved as Twin Cities dance group DA Dance founder Denise Armstead mulled what could become part of the performance that she described as “a storytelling dance journey that is uplifting and thought-provoking, revealing layers of life’s circumstances, transforming the ordinary into how we are able to ignite and unharness old behaviors and attitudes into a shift of consciousness.”
That dance journey, featuring Armstead, Evans, Gerry Girouard and Heidi Kalweit, included experiences such as the first movement’s “A Walk Through Water,” during which Armstead and Kalweit proceed onto the darkened dance floor clad in flowing blue robes, “Stroller Mania,” a zany battle of baby strollers decked out in tropical fish – a tribute to Kalweit’s memory of snorkeling while pregnant — “Sad Dog,” in which Evans does battle with the sad fact that his cell phone has made him dependent on it and also realizes that he needs to be “tagged,” or recognized by other people, and the moment when everything came to a halt as the dancers asked audience members, “Where were you in 1996?”
The answers they received were “I wasn’t born yet,” “I was in the Twin Cities inviting drug dealers to a block party,” “I was 11 years old,” and “I was buying a horse.” Anyone who volunteered a story got a PEZ candy, because, well, that’s what the dancers had on hand that afternoon while rehearsing and decided would fit in the work.
The piece progressed to show how the choices one makes have consequences, that people do crave recognition and acknowledgement, and that there are possibilities and hope for a future, as the final movement, “Bona fide Ignition,” demonstrated.
The dancers took questions from the audience following their performance, and one of the first questions they answered was, “If you did it again, would it be the same?”
Armstead and her troupe replied that it’s a work in progress, something that changes each time they set foot on the hardwood, and that this, being the first public performance after approximately a year and a half of developing “Ignition,” was a privilege in that there were real people taking in the action and emotion it was meant to convey.
A member of the audience thanked the company for bringing their performance to a rural area such as DreamAcres, situated between Spring Valley and Wykoff, since it isn’t often that dance companies venture out to share their interpretations with rural viewers.
The troupe thanked the audience for allowing them to experiment and bring the performance to the DreamAcres barn, a place far removed from the Twin Cities’ dance circuit, somewhere where they could fling strollers and throw PEZ, all in the name of emotional ignition.