GroundWorks DanceTheater will return to the Akron-Summit County Public Library Friday for the Akron premieres of Kate Weare’s Inamorata and artistic director David Shimotakahara’s LUNA.
The library auditorium was so booked, the modern dance company was able to schedule just one performance, for 7:30 p.m. Friday, instead of its usual two nights.
The appearance by the Cleveland-based company continues its tradition of performing in Akron at least a couple of times a year, including the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival.
GroundWorks did not perform at the historic Akron Icehouse this year due to its unsafe roof, which Shimotakahara says leaks and allows rain inside.
“It was not an easy venue to set up, even, and the positives were outweighed by the obstacles,” he said.
GroundWorks has a new partnership with Cleveland State University and is in residency there for its first year at the school’s new arts campus at the Middough Building, right behind PlayhouseSquare. That means the troupe’s new fall performance space is at the Allen Theatre — a space shared by the Cleveland Play House, CSU theater and dance and the Case Western Reserve University theater graduate program — whose main stage is big but whose house has an intimate feel.
When choreographer Weare came into town in January to create her dance commissioned by GroundWorks, she spent two weeks at the facility, where CSU students had the opportunity to interact with the guest artist. In Inamorata, she has set the dance to ancient choral music, giving it an element of mystery. The dance opens and closes with medieval chants.
“It makes me think of ideas related to belief,” Shimotakahara said. “The idea of having faith, of doubting faith.”
Nothing is absolute in Weare’s dance, which invites viewers to make associations in their minds. “Dance is strongest in that area that we would call ambiguity,” Shimotakahara said.
For Shimotakahara’s LUNA, he wanted to avoid creating different sections in the dance but rather create a fluidity with his five dancers coming in and out of the action, so all take part in conveying one idea.
“You have one person starting an idea and another person picking it up” like a tag team, he said.
LUNA, he said, has to do with our attachments to each other, how we deal with loss and the give and take that we negotiate throughout our lives. There’s a cyclical feeling to the piece, for which lighting designer Dennis Dugan has created a circle of light onstage with texture created by a photograph of the moon. Dugan’s circle of light has an iris effect, opening up and closing down.
The new dance is set to the digital music of Peter V. Swendsen, assistant professor of computer music and digital arts at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
“He’s great to work with. He has a sort of sensibility of how sound and music work together,” Shimotakahara said of Swendsen, who extrapolated from the choreographer’s concepts of giving and taking, losing and finding to compose the music.
“You take the leap together and hope you end up in the same place” when creating a new dance with original music, Shimotakahara said.
Friday’s program also will include a reprise of Shimotakahara’s earlier dance Brubeck, a spirited tribute to American jazz icon Dave Brubeck. The main library is at 60 S. High St. Tickets cost $25 for preferred seating, $20 general admission and $10 for students. Call 216-751-0088 or see www.groundworksdance.org.
By Kerry Clawson
Beacon Journal staff writer
Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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