We are thrilled to welcome award-winning New York choreographer Adam Barruch as Guest Artist for our much-anticipated Summer Dance Series. Barruch’s world premiere work, tentatively titled “Hex,” will explore themes including mysticism, magic and creation. Adam recently shared what makes this collaboration unique and why the subject matter is thought provoking.

“The piece is centered around a magical text and how this ‘book’ contains access to a universal power,” Barruch says. “I really love the idea of harnessing this power and taking that into one’s own body and manifesting change and control over people and elements.”

The new work, debuting in Cleveland Heights on July 15 at the Alma Theater in Cain Park, will be an innovative and intimate 5-dancer portrait featuring GroundWorks company members. The creative partnership is also a joyful reunion for Barruch, who has worked in the past with company dancer Annika Sheaff (with whom he is a former Juilliard classmate) and knows Lauren Garson from mutual ties in New York. “To have familiar faces in the studio is always a beautiful thing,” he says.

Working closely with a tight-knit group of dancers is one of the most exciting things about this particular collaborative experience, according to Barruch. “It gives me a greater sense of each artist and helps me to really utilize him/her to the best of my abilities,” he says.

Artistic Director David Shimotakahara says Barruch has yielded some fascinating initial discovery during recent rehearsals. “One of the striking features of Adam’s work is his multi-dimensional use of the dancer’s upper body and arms,” he says of Barruch’s style, which Barruch describes as “kinetic gesture.”

“The artists have been challenged by the complexity of the physical coordination it demands,” says Shimotakahara. “Adam has talked about his interest in questions around power and control. Who claims it? What are its sources? How is it communicated? The company is excited to continue to explore these ideas through the evocative physical language is that is emerging, and what it can reveal.”

For Barruch, who began his career as a young actor in film and on Broadway and is founder of Brooklyn-based dance company Anatomiae Occultii (“hidden anatomy” in Latin), the creative process often involves using words and phrases, asking the artist to imagine what kinds of movement can be created from them. Language is often the jumping off point in the initial creative process. While choreographing this particular piece, Barruch utilized words like, “magnetism,” “pulse,” and “fire” to help evoke an image or emotion.

“My works are usually more abstract and are often very sensual and psychologically dense,” says Barruch. “I like when the work makes the audience think. Like they want to linger a bit.”

He hopes audiences will be moved.

Don’t miss this exciting world premiere with performances on July 15, 16 and 17 at Cain Park’s Alma Theater in Cleveland Heights and August 5-6 at Heinz Poll at Glendale Cemetery in Akron.

(Photo: Elizabeth Romanski)