Male Dominated 

Ground Zero's all-male concert stands out in the predominately female world of dance

Ground Zero co-founder, choreographer and dancer, Petres, didn't intentionally set up the concert to be male dominant. Rather, it arose out of regular conversations with Ray Schwartz, with whom he co-founded the now-defunct Steve's House Dance Collective. Each having established separate companies — Schwartz is now in Zen Monkey Project in Charlottesville — they admire the other's work and frequently present in either's concerts. "He's like family to me," Petres says about Schwartz, "I trust his judgment."

For this show, Petres and Schwartz have choreographed work and will collaborate in an improvised dance. They have also invited guest artists from out-of-town. Petres asked New Yorker Karl Anderson whose intense physicality and play impressed him. Schwartz asked Waddell of the Zen Monkey Project and Gionatan Surrenti from Italy.

Petres and Schwartz's improvisation will be performed with Surrenti. The trio, says Schwartz, is inspired, in part, by his and Surrenti's study of Contact Improvisation. "We are not just doing whatever we feel or going with the flow. The work we choose to share is informed by a deep belief in the vitality present in a dance work when the performers' attention to every moment is enhanced by unpredictability."

Schwartz will also present two solos, "Cradle: Physical Anthropologies for a Technological Age" and "Otoliths." Both works serve as studies of human physiology, "Cradle" focusing on the human skeleton's link to soul, and "Otoliths" linked to his research on the vestibular system and the inner ear.

Petres joins forces with Anderson in "Recess," which demonstrates both the strength and silliness of boys at play. Petres mixes his penchant for the dark with Anderson's levity, revealing two guys egging each on and roughhousing. Anderson will also perform his acrobatic solo, "Embracing Nothingness," which is a quest for inner strength. The only piece created by women, Waddell, with assistance from Lea Marshall, created is the flamboyantly vain solo "Pretty Man," performed by Petres.

Despite the absence of women on the stage, Petres downplays the predominance of male energy. He attributes much of the behind-the-scenes work to GZDC Executive Director Marshall to whom he gives great praise. What is different about this concert, however, he explains, "It feels less like work and more like play," a difference due in part to bringing in more guests than is typical. "The process has forced more communication than usual in order to stay on top of everything and know what's going on." He is pleased to give dancers an opportunity to share their work and audiences an opportunity to see dance. "The more going on, the more I'm happy." S

Ground Zero Dance Company will perform "Finger of the Sun" at Grace Street Theater Dec. 13-14 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $12 adults and $6 students. Call 353-9774.


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