This past weekend Todd Rosenlieb Dance opened its 6th season with Falling for Dance presented by the Kalman Family. The concert showcased choreography by Artistic Director Todd Rosenlieb and Associate Artistic Director Ricardo Melendez. The performance opened with a work entitled, “Souvenirs”, with music by Samuel Barber performed live by pianist Lee Jordan-Anders. The curtain rose to the piano placed center stage and as the music began dancers entered with stools. Throughout the piece the stools were used not only as a prop but also as their intended use so the dancers could enjoy watching one another, too. This piece brought about the idea of an audience within an audience. As we listened the music transition from one composition to the next we dance the dancers follow suit through their movement. They not only watched their fellow dancers but also listened intently to music so eloquently produced by the piano. This piece complimented the unique modern dance technique of Erick Hawkins to the melody of the music. Each note of the piano seemed to have its own related movement it was as if the dancers were producing their own melodic rhythm through their movement.
After intermission the curtain rose to Ricardo Melendez’s “Voiced”. This trio was a breathtaking display of a woman’s turmoil and internal distress to find herself or her voice. The dancers powerful movements brought a heightened feeling of distress and want to find peace. The movement resembled a ritualistic environment. The lighting in this piece was simple and perfect. Single spotlights upon each dancer showed a feeling of isolation and being left alone to deal with their own struggle with the hope of finding their own voice.
The concert concluded with the premiere of new work by Todd Rosenlieb. “Heavy Like Waits” was choreographed to the music of Tom Waits. The curtain rose to a bare stage that gave the impression of walking down an alleyway. The costumes for this piece were very unique; each dancer had formal business attire that was missing opposite sleeves and pant legs. Long trench coats were an essential part to this piece as they were not only worn but also used as props to drag and move the dancers through the space. The various songs all had a feeling of heaviness but it was the heavy movement and grounded style of the choreography that complimented the music so perfectly. The dancers appeared to be in an elite gang of business people with a deep secret.
This concert dabbled into all kinds of emotions and expressions from those of joy to struggle to downright gangster. It was a refreshing night of creativity and beautiful dancing. The Todd Rosenlieb Dance Company has a wonderful range of talent and dancers that can pull from different experiences to create different environments and settings. If you have not seen a show, what are you waiting for?
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