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Collaborative Choreography

Dance Showcase this weekend


Watch this video on YouTube

In the slideshow above, see images from “Why Do You (Still) Dance?” with Micki Taylor-Pinney, Ann Brown Allen, and Lynn Modell, and from Stirrings, a duet for Nicole DeVicci and Christine McDowell (CAS’11), by Margot Parsons and composer Ai Isshiki. Photos by Kate Ford

It’s a Saturday afternoon in September, and three dancers are piling on, and flipping themselves over, a couch in Boston University’s Dance Theater. They’re rehearsing a section of a dance they’ve choreographed together, called Taking Inventory, Take 3. They pause in the middle of the routine to break down the sacred fourth wall and tell the audience about their love of dance.

The collaborators are Micki Taylor-Pinney, director of BU’s dance program, Ann Brown Allen, an instructor in the program, and Lynn Modell, a teacher at Brookline High School. The work is the culmination of the trilogy—what Taylor-Pinney calls the ‘spirit’ of a work that looks at the mind, body, and spirit. It’s an intensely personal work called “Why Do You (Still) Dance?” in which the three mature dancers move about the stage and speak about what motivates and inspires them to keep performing.

This is one of several works being performed tonight, part of the annual Dance Showcase 2010, which runs tonight and tomorrow night at the Dance Theater, beginning at 8 p.m.

Among the other works are dances choreographed by Jeffrey Cirio, Peter Martins, and BU dance instructors Stephanie Creary, Margot Parsons, DeAnna Pellecchia, and Ingrid Schatz, as well as Reach program member Ashton Lites’ work with members of Reach, BU’s summer outreach program for high school students. Together, the lineup demonstrates the versatility of BU’s dance program—from ballet and modern to krump and hip-hop.

The Dance Showcase is also known internally as the “faculty concert,” according to Taylor-Pinney. “It’s an opportunity to have a venue for our faculty, to show what they are working on currently,” she says. “It’s nice because it’s hard to get produced in Boston.”

Guests and alumni are also invited to perform, she says. This year’s showcase will include performers from Boston Ballet II. “It’s very exciting to have Boston Ballet II back,” she says. “These are young, talented dancers who bring a lot of energy onstage, and backstage, too.”

Schatz and Pellecchia will perform two duets, “Glass Jaw” and “Gambit,” part of the larger series That Girl and the Other One, which focuses on female aggression, cultural attitudes toward women, and the roles women play in American society.

Pellecchia says it’s important to address bullying and victimization—especially on stage. “As an artist, it’s your responsibility, and part of your reality, to stand up and put ideas out into the world,” she says. “You have to commit to opening yourself up in a raw way.”

The ability to open up in front of an audience is easier when collaborating with a partner you trust, Schatz says.

“DeAnna and I have been dancing together for a long time, close to 12 years,” she says. “There’s a very deep trust between us. There’s a kind of movement empathy. We speak a language that is ours, which makes it easy to perform something difficult.”

Dance Showcase 2010 will be performed Friday and Saturday, October 1 and 2, at 8 p.m. at the Boston University Dance Theater, in the FitRec Center, 915 Commonwealth Ave. General admission tickets are $15; $10 for students and the BU community with ID. Call 617-358-2500 to make paid reservations.

Kimberly Cornuelle can be reached at kcornuel@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter @kcornuel.


One Comment on Collaborative Choreography

  • Jasmine Jenkins on 10.03.2010 at 9:14 am


    There looks to be a lot of work that goes into these dances. These dancers seem dedicated and totally in love with their craft. I hope that we will be kept up to date on what is next for them!

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