Saturday, October 30, 2010

How Do We Define and Classify Dance?

The human body is amazing. I love this art form of dance because there is no end to what the human form can express. Tonight, I attended a performance of Companhia de Danca Deborah Colker at the Kennedy Center. The dancers were athletic, precise, musical, sensual, mechanical and superhuman, all in one evening. The concert titled Mix, was a little disjointed due to the nature of the performance, as the program consisted of a “mix” of sections from other evening length thematic concerts.

I appreciated Colker’s choreographic sensitivity to the creation of environments and theatrical landscapes through which the performers explored. I was particularly in awe of the final selection called “Climbing,” during which the dancers fearlessly propelled and repelled themselves up, down, across, upside down, turning and backwards along a huge climbing wall. In the small amount of rock climbing I have personally attempted, I have always worn a harness. These dancers scaled the wall surface, without any safety device, as though they were moving along the floor. In fact, there were times my mind was tricked into believing that I was looking down at the performers from above. They created a new dimension for dancing!

I once again found myself searching for a definition of how to classify dance. Colker’s company is as athletic as it is technical as it is theatrical. Some may say the work is circus, theater, performance art, visual art, sport or dance. I wonder, why do we need a definition?

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