Dawson|Wallace Dance Project is bringing their distinctive, progressive style to the forefront of the fall dance season in Denver this weekend – move over, Tchaikovsky; there will be no nodding off during this performance.

I asked James Wallace, co-Artistic Director of Dawson|Wallace, about the world premiere of Before/3, and what personal meaning the piece has for him: “The 3 in Before/3 represents my spiritual practice; in general the number 3 tends to have spiritual significance.  So the piece deals with things I struggled with before I started my spiritual practice. I am a Buddhist, but the piece is very abstract and definitely doesn’t preach to the audience.”

Before/3 is billed as, “exploring the cycle of life, the struggle inherent to our existence as we reach towards something more.” By the standards of previous Dawson|Wallace performances, it will be nothing short of arresting, contemporary ballet at it’s finest (yes, we’re talking toss-the-pink-tights-and-tiara-out-the-window).  This company at one point was David Taylor Dance Theatre, and, when it was founded in 1979, preceded any contemporary based dance company in Colorado.

When I asked Wallace about his relationship to David Taylor Dance Theatre and how his choreographic style differs, he offered, “I danced for David for a number of years and was choreographer in residence for DTDT during that time too. David was very generous in nurturing me as a choreographer. He was very influential in my development as a choreographer and I am very grateful for all of the opportunities he gave me.”

“I would say that my choreography tends to be sharper and more angular; almost architectural in a way, whereas David’s tends to be more circular and tribal. Also, I would say that David tends to look to the past for inspiration, and I definitely look to the future as I choreograph. There is certainly a spiritual approach to our work respectively, but in an abstract presentation. Both of us tend to be very grounded (in what we present).”

“DWDP showcases some of the most versatile dancers in the region, all with a very strong classical base.  These dancers can do it all and are so very passionate about their art – that feeling definitely reaches out to the audience during performances.”

There’s a time and a place for 100 year old ballets, magic, and frills; there’s a time for an absolute soul shakedown. Luckily, dance lovers in Denver can get both – with the latter in full force this weekend in the Denver area; times and dates as follows:

Friday, October 19 | 7:30 pm | Performing Arts Complex at PCS |Pinnacle Charter School | 1001 W. 84th Avenue, Denver

Saturday, October 20 | 7:30 pm | Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre |119 Park Avenue West, Denver

(excerpts) Sunday, October 21 | 2 pm | Hampden Hall | 1000 Englewood Parkway, Englewood

Tickets for the excerpts portion run $5 for students/seniors and $10 for general admission, $22 for children/student/seniors and $28 for adults during the evening performances.