Dance is a phrase that can call up many different mental images. From dirty dancing in a club to a ballet performance, to a way to work out and get in shape, dance can have many connotations. But in the modern age where art is meant to entertain as well as carry a deeper meaning, where does dance fit in?
According to the Evolving Doors Dance Troupe based out of Denver and Boulder, dance is a medium that should carry social messages as well as a way to entertain and enthrall. Their latest performance, “Relative Weight & Tiny Surrenders,” touches on concepts of diversity and human relations, while also bringing to the table an enthralling performance for dance enthusiasts to enjoy.
The performance will take place on Friday and Saturday nights, October 2 and 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Dairy in Boulder. We spoke to Angie Simmons, the show’s artistic director and choreographer, about this new piece and what to expect from this coming weekend’s performance.
Here are just a few good reasons to check this out and see what “Relative Weight & Tiny Surrenders” is all about.
1. There is a deeper social message behind the performance.
When writing the choreography for “Relative Weight & Tiny Surrenders,” Simmons was thinking about the tragic shooting that occurred in Furgeson, and this train of thought carried over into the work itself.
“Before we stepped into rehearsal is when the Ferguson shooting happened, and I grew up in Missouri about an hour from Ferguson,” Simmons explained. “The events of that were really affecting me that time, and the climate of discussion around that shooting and the events that happened thereafter. That kind of made its way into this studio and into working on this piece. The piece is not about Ferguson itself, but the general struggle that we all have with ourselves, with everything from the workplace to the community to a more global scale, what it really feels like to come up against other humans that have different ideas than us, and we look at them through a different light, what that means, and how we navigate that. The cast itself is not as diverse as it has been at other points in time, but everyone has their own micro-diversities that we bring to the table, and then there are the macro-diversities that exist in our communities and on a social level. I always ask the dancers to process a lot in rehearsal and to focus on these things, and we usually get into some pretty deep discussions. It is good for us to be able to take that info and funnel it into the choreography and interactions between the dancers.”
2. The troupe will be sharing the stage with out-of-towners doing a contrasting performance.
As if getting to see Evolving Doors is not enough of a treat, at this event they will be sharing the stage with Re Dance, a troupe from Colorado.
“The performance itself is a shared performance,” explained Simmons. “We typically as a dance company usually do a full length show by ourselves, which is 75 minutes of dance work nonstop, but at this performance both troupes are doing 40 minutes each. This year we decided to do a shared show in Chicago with a dance company, called Re Dance. We shared the show in Chicago with them, and now they are coming to split the show with us in boulder. Our piece has a lot of partnering, a lot of physical interaction, a lot of physical struggle within the show. There are also a lot of moments that are unison dancing, lovely, intimate moments between the dancers. The other troupe’s work is actually very lighthearted; it is called “It’s About Love Again This Year,” and is all about love, and how we experience, love, the roller coaster and ups and downs that it can bring. It’s a lovely complement to our piece, which is a little darker, a little bit more intense, so the two sort of balance each other out.”
3. There is a little bit of everything in terms of style and music.
Another reason to check out this week’s performance is that both troupes are very diverse when it comes to the music and the dance styles that they incorporate.
“You’ll get a little bit of everything with this show,” Simmons told us. “My partner in running the troupe, Amy Shelley, part of her role aside from being the Executive Director is that she is our Sound Designer and Editor. We always start with choreography, and we will get midway between the dances before we add any sound or music. She comes in and talks to us a lot, comes into rehearsals to see what we are thinking of, and then she will either choose music to go along with the performance, or write something. This time she selected music, and she wove in various texts with the sound score. So our music just sort of flows, one section to the next, so its just sort of an experience. Re Dance has everything from some techno music to classical music to some singalong type of music; they have just about anything you could imagine involved in their sound score.
“Our company is what I consider contemporary modern dance,” Simmons continues. “I think that Re Dance consider themselves more of dance theater, so I think there are a lot of differences that people will notice right away between our dancers and their dancers, but there is a lot of crossover as well. –no basic standards, and no official labels.”
4. Each dancer brings something different to the table.
In addition to the variation in music and dance styles that can be found at this performance, you will also notice a distinct variation between each dancer and performer in the troupe.
“In evolving doors we have a total of six performers; that includes me, and they are all dancers, so there aren’t really things like this person is a soloist or this person has a specific character,” Simmons explained. “As the piece is developed, each dancer has their own characteristics that they embody when they do a specific movement, two dancers her have a more intimate duet, but we don’t really have a lead or a corpse, we all have the uniform title of dancer. Re Dance has nine in their troupe, a larger cast, so it will be interesting to have all those people there at once.”
5. This performance contributes to a larger scene of dance and entertainment in the Colorado area.
As with many scenes in Denver, the dance scene was once small, but is growing and developing as the overall population changes and thrives.
“It’s a really interesting scene; it’s a lovely one, and one that I really hope continues to grow” says Simmons about the dance scene in Colorado. “It has been on a pretty slow growth pattern, especially with dance and dance-like performances, and it is different because there are a handful of large companies and also some smaller ones. We are really trying to push the growth of that community, and we are really trying to grow it more all the time. There are a handful of things I think could really help that, but in general, there are a lot of people making really lovely performances, and it is always so glorious and fulfilling for both the performers and the audience when they can come out and really experience dance, how it reflects on the larger community, how we can bring other things to the larger community, so I am always looking at how the arts community and general community can overlap. I think that there are a lot of great things in the future for Colorado dance.”
You can learn more about “Relative Weight & Tiny Surrenders” and Evolving Doors Dance in general, by visiting the website. You can also call 303-444-7328 to purchase tickets.
All images courtesy of Evolving Doors Dance