Breaking Boundaries 

Dim Sum Dance's Julie Mayo brings more unexpected collaborations.

This interest in exploring layers of meaning gives Mayo's work a distinctive character. She is drawn to experimentation and collaboration, two concepts featured prominently in "The Body Breaks." New and repertory work by Mayo, involving collaborative efforts with local musician Adam Rose and filmmaker Pat Doyen, will be featured, as well as work by guest choreographer Blair Bodie.

Mayo's newest work, "Light Engines," began as a simple movement inspired by a song by The Books. She taught the phrase to dancers Megan Zander, Jamie Reynolds and Eliza Diener-Brazelle and then asked them to break away and create their own versions of the movement. Thus began, she says, the "circuitous pathway" that led eventually to a piece evoking a world somewhere between the ocean and outer space. Mayo collaborated with Adam Rose throughout the process as he created a score based on electronic manipulation of organic sounds, such as guitar chords and water.

In a second collaboration, Mayo approached Richmond filmmaker Pat Doyen, whose evocative, grainy abstract work pulled her in, she says. The result: a new film that leads into and complements Mayo's recent solo "Unearthed." While performing this intense work, Mayo says, she feels driven by something other than herself, a "primal force" that suspends her sense of personal choice and pushes her through the dance.

Choreographer Bodie, who graduated from VCU in 2000 and commenced a series of dance adventures in Australia, Malaysia and now in New York at Sarah Lawrence College, returns to Richmond to present new work alongside Dim Sum Dance. Her duet, "Sin Circles," she says, "explores the pitfalls and awkwardness of romance." A second work, "Stuck," evokes the danger of "diving too far into the psyche."

Working with a musician and a filmmaker, and presenting the work of a fellow choreographer, dovetail with Mayo's passionate commitment to building community and collaborative relationships between artists. And as "The Body Breaks" plainly shows, Mayo moves, in her own words, "sharply in one direction": forward. S

Dim Sum Dance's "The Body Breaks" takes place May 26-27 at 8 p.m. at the Firehouse Theatre, 1609 W. Broad St. Tickets are $8-$12. For more information, call 440-8528 or visit www.dimsumdance.org.

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