Chop Shop is looking sharp

When the curtain lowered and the house lights came up at the end of Chop Shop's opening performance last night, my friend shouted, "I'm not ready for it to be over yet!"

That sums it up pretty well, I think.  This lineup of eight dance groups, performing a rainbow of choreography styles, makes you want more.

Spectrum Dance Theatre's surprise preview of "Farewell" had such intense energy, I wasn't sure the dancers would survive it. Michael Rioux's commitment to his "rewind" movement in "Wild Fruit Study 01" was remarkable to watch. The Peninsula Dance Theatre looked like pure autumn in their lovely ensemble piece, staged to brilliant music from Tin Hat Trio. Sonia Dawkins' company, Prism, performed inspired moves in socks and utilikilts. Quark Contemporary Dance Theatre brought "The Kids' Table," five dancers embodying the physicality of children as they slumped over one another or puppeteered each other's movements. Mark Haim's "Buoyant Despite Slump" was like watching a softer, more sympathetic Charlie Chaplin take on dance. And acornDance's site-specific piece, performed in a stairwell at intermission, well, it scared me a few times (I worried for the dancers' safety). But it modeled the suprising possibilities you can find when dance is not spread out across a proscenium stage.

And that's just skimming the surface of the exciting display I saw last night.

The matinee (and closing performance) today will offer a slightly different program featuring, in particular, Cyrus Khambatta's group, The Phffft! Dance Theatre (which I was sad not to see last night), Olivier Wevers' company Whim W'Him and others. See it today at 3:00pm. You won't regret it.

Also, there's a free event before today's show called "Reading Dance," in which Eva Stone (creator of the festival) walks you through the choreographer's process. 1:00-2:00pm at the Theatre at Meydenbauer.

Photo © Gabriel Bienczycki of ZebraVisual

Chop Shop: Bodies of Work
February 13 & 14, 2010
The Theatre at Meydenbauer, Bellevue