The artists of "Yes, Virginia Dance!" come from Richmond, Norfolk, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington. Washington's young Arachne Aerial Arts is presenting "After the Fall," a solo set on aerial silk exploring the literal and metaphoric fall into passionate release. Another young performer, Radford artist Danah Bella, offers "Meditation on the Nature of Embodiment," which combines pedestrian movement with dance vocabulary.
Todd Rosenlieb of Norfolk is a former member of the Eric Hawkins Dance Company and now teaches at the Governor's Magnet School for the Arts in Norfolk. His company, Todd Rosenlieb Dance, presents "The Waiting Room," a comic duet to the music of Mama Cass Elliot, set in an office waiting room. Gerri Houlihan, currently on the faculty of the American Dance Festival and a guest artist at VCU Dance, has choreographed "Morango," a duet performed by Sean and B.J. Sullivan.
Scott Putman, associate professor of dance at VCU and director of Cerulean Dance Theatre, contributes a solo work, "If You Only Knew." Gary says it showcases Putnam's "strong technical ability and clear rhythmic awareness."
Artists returning to the show include Gary's own company, K Dance, offering "The Man Who Couldn't Dance," a collaboration with local actor David Bridgewater, and inspired by a short play of the same title. Laura Schandelmeier returns with "Their Then Now/Doing the Shorty George," which she developed after seeing Richmond artist Richard Carlyon's video re-interpretation of "The Shorty George," a dance choreographed by Hermes Pan for Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth.
Gary says a regional showcase like this one benefits the dance community in many ways. "Self producing is becoming less and less possible for small ensembles," she says, and "Yes, Virginia Dance!" provides a performance opportunity for them while also bringing the work of several outside performers to Richmond. And this year's show will be followed by a question and answer session mediated by Gary.
"Yes, Virginia Dance!" has the potential to expand into a strong creative force in the region. Gary would like to see the concert travel to other Virginia cities, and expand to include classes led by the artists. Regardless of the project's scope, Gary feels the concert celebrates "the endless possibility of ideas that exist in modern dance." S "Yes, Virginia Dance!" takes place Saturday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. at the Grace Street Theater, 934 W. Grace St. Tickets cost $10-$18. Call 828-2020.
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