'Vintage' paints attraction through motion


Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 8:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Shadow Dance Theatre's "Vintage" continues the unmistakable shadow aesthetic of writer, choreographer and director Ric Rose.

Facts

"Vintage"

What: Shadow Dance Theatre's production of "Vintage," presented by the University of Florida School of Theatre and Dance

The production, which opens today at the Black Box Theatre of the Nadine McGuire Theater and Dance Pavilion, unravels like a dream with a deviance from the traditional narrative pattern.

"Dance theater opens the doors for the possibility to tell a story, and instead of telling it narratively, it can go into the physical poetry of an idea and create an illusion around that idea," says Rose.

Through movement, the company's ensemble of 14 dancers recover "vintage" treasures: ideas from paintings and written works translated into Rose's poetic choreography.

"This work and every Shadow Dance begins as an idea that I have based on a lot of references," says Rose, who as a choreographer likes to paint in "big strokes."

Leaping onto the stage like swirls of paint, Rose's dancers pose the question: "What attracts us as beautiful?"

"What attracts myself are various pieces of artwork that come out of a situation," Rose says. "Art is a mechanism for a lens through which we can see beauty."

For one such mechanism, Rose chose Edward Burne Jones' "The Mirror of Venus," which depicts Venus and other women surrounding a reflective pool of water. Rose's recreation of the painting has dancers encircling the pool (an inventive kiddie pool on wheels.)

In the painting, Some of the women ponder how they compare to Venus, a flawless and unattainable standard of beauty. Venus stands tall, immune to the draw of the Narcissus pool, in which many struggle to stay afloat.

"You watch how people use a higher power being to judge themselves and how we see that higher power," Rose says.

Others search the self with their own beauty question.

All will capture the gaze of Rose's vision in a subconscious dimension For the stage version, one of the women discovers that she (gasp!) has a blemish, and the women recite a catalog of the creams on the market for her crisis.

"The purpose of shadow dance is to find new and abstract ways to show the human condition," Rose says.

Pleasantly And "Vintage" tilts its mirror to reflect human behavior and depict that condition.

"The shadow attached to the dance gives a little poetic suggestion of a more subconscious realm of reality and challenges the audience in regard to how they view dance theatre and the world in which they live," Rose says.

The continuity of Rose's imagery flows over the stage into the lives of the audience as the piece shows is fabrication of his mind strives to show the shadows that trail beneath us.

Throughout the repertory, Rose introduces us to different ideas of beauty.

Rose's chimera features nymphs in tunics for beauty and satyrs in smoking jackets for exaggerated horror.

"I'm evoking satyrs as a contrast to the modern man and the conflict that it represents," Rose says.

As "Vintage" progresses in its varying states of mind, the piece is set to selections from Greek traditional music and Barry White.

"I use whatever the moment demands," Rose says.

The Shadow Dance creator endows his dancers with new approaches to movement.

"I like to challenge them in regard to their comfort zones and what they're used to doing." Rose says. As with typical dance theater, it is up to the viewer to interpret the creator's message. "The work can get fairly out there for the audience, to find a thread they'll have to work at it," says Rose.

You will likely locate the thread that ties you to your shadow that follows us always and never lies.The company, which began in the summer of 2000 with "Inseparable Companion," developed a personal relationship for Rose that has lasted for seven years.

"As Shadow Dance has defined itself, my style has evolved with it. It's more about the performers and less about my ideas. It's about how well the performers work as I try to corral a response from them," he says.

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