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Julie Mayo is ready to make the leap into a bigger pond.

For four years, Mayo's pushed envelopes at the helm of modern dance company Dim Sum Dance and is now making the move of so many other artists -- to the Big City. "It's either Chicago or New York," she says.

She's aware of the new challenge that will bring, she says: "In Richmond if you're consistently making work in dance, you are a big fish. If you go to New York, [you're] becoming an amoeba in a huge sea of dance."

The move is partly because her husband, Mark Richardson, a music writer (and Style contributor), has been offered a job at the music Web site Pitchfork Media. But Mayo says the timing is also right for her to finish her stint in Richmond.

"What I've needed and wanted to do here has been done," she says. "For me, it has become about resources and larger community. You might be an amoeba in a mammoth ocean, but there's more to draw from."

Dim Sum Dance will be reincarnated wherever Mayo ends up. She says she's already reconnected with two former collaborators who live in New York, Carrie McDonald and Megan Zander. "We're doing projects together even being in different cities," Mayo says. "My company and I have come to an understanding about our ways of working and what my work is 'about.'"

It's for this reason that she's hopeful her current company members will continue to work with her after the move, thinking they'll eventually make the natural progression to a larger community.

"I would go the distance for Julie," says Ashley Valo, Dim Sum company member. "There's definitely the possibility for travel."

Company member Rachel Hunter has worked with many Richmond choreographers. In losing Mayo, Hunter says, a hole will be left here in the way of more experimental choreography.

"Everybody has a different process," Hunter says. "Julie has a non-linear, very different way of looking at dance. It's more experimental."

Dim Sum Dance's final Richmond performance, "Please," is scheduled for Nov. 9 and 10 at Art6 gallery. The evening showcases pieces by Mayo, Zander and each of the company's three current members as well as a short film by Dave Miller.

Mayo's "From Hut to Heatwave" is an exploration of being stuck in the mental states of anticipation and distraction. It's a powerful and deliberate work that highlights her talent for creating beautiful transitions and graceful pauses and maintaining connections between the dancers.

Before the performance, Mayo sent out postcards with the word "Please" on them, asking the recipients to finish the sentence and mail the postcards back to her. The responses will be included in the program. They include: "… take a moment," "… pass the mustard!" "… don't ever lie to me again," and "… don't be sorry."

For the collaborative Mayo, it's indicative of a habit she'll be taking with her to that bigger pond.

The final Dim Sum Dance performance in Richmond is Nov. 9-10 at 8 p.m. at Art6 gallery. Tickets are $10. 343-1406 or visit www.dimsumdance.org.



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