December 05, 2022
Choreographer Showcase Displays a World of Emotions
Kingswood Oxford Choreographer Showcase on November 18 captivated the audience with 10 dance performances ranging from ballet, modern, hip-hop, lyrical, and jazz. KO’s Theater Director Kyle Reynolds and several local dance troupes and individual choreographers, including IMMIX, NEBT, Sinque Tavares, Brandon Gregoire, and Chantal Edwards-Matthews choreographed the works. One of KO’s strategic pillars is to build partnerships with the local community, and the Choreographer Showcase is an exemplar of how the school is attaining that goal.
KO students, from the novice to the seasoned performer, displayed impressive and artful skills as they fearlessly conveyed the motifs of each of the dances. Over several weeks, the students practiced tirelessly, and the performance showed the result of their efforts. As Reynolds said in the Playbill, “The arts should be recognized as both an accessible opportunity for all skill levels and a practice that requires dedication, sacrifice, and hard work.” It paid off.
The first performance, the elegant “Slow Down,” demonstrated the struggle between competition and self-worth. This piece questioned when and how fast we run, jog, walk, or stand still and showcased two competing narratives and two KO dancers. The underlying message was that the opponents work better when they are supported rather than pinned against each other.
“Fall In, Fall Out, Fall,” choreographed by IMMIX, conveyed themes of longing, needing support, and alienation. By utilizing and working together with those around you, one can gain strength and move forward. Initially, the piece began with IMMIX dancers, and the KO dancers were later introduced in the work, fueled with powerful repetitive stances.
The artists performed their own works. “Free Mind,” featuring choreographer Chantal Edwards-Matthews, focused on a universal theme – the struggle of getting out of bed some mornings. However, once the dancer recognized how fierce her reflection truly was, she could face the world with strength and power. A total crowd-pleaser, “Full Out” by hip-hop dancer Sinque Taveres was an exuberant mix of fun, sass, muscle, and work. “Pen Pals,” choreographed by NEBT’s Lucie Shultz, stressed the importance of leaning on those around you – even if they are far away. Brandon Gregoire’s “Out of Order” contended with feeling stuck in a situation in which you are longing for more.
Dressed in alternating black or white ensembles, the dancers began the piece slowly and then built speed in “Ying and Yang.” The work, punctuated with precise pirouettes and leaps, conveyed navigating strength, empathy, and rigor in a contrasting world of opinions.
“Through It All,” accompanied by Philip Glass’s evocative “Saxophone Concert” had the dancers writhing and crawling on the floor as they fought and overcame their inner demons. The work featured acrobatic movements.
The familiar notes of Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther accompanied “Jewelry Thieves,” a comedically quirky number where the KO dance bandits peaked from behind columns and danced hip hop. As a police siren sounded and flood lights illuminated the stage, the dancers took flight.
The performance ended with “Music is,” which began in a meditative state with yogic moves that transitioned into a rhythmic driving beat extolling the power of music, breath, stillness, happiness, and sharing joy.
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