Mutual Dance Theatre
Variations in a Brainstorm
November 19th, 2021 at 8pm
Mutual Arts Center
Cincinnati, OH 45216
Jeanne Mam-Luft, Artistic and Executive Director and Poducer
Steven P. Evans, Company Director
Rowan Salem, Choreographer for Pulp
Hannah Williamson, Choreographer for Variations in a Brainstorm
Claire Dieringer, Kirsten Edwards, Anna Hart, Stevie Lamblin, Caroline Nymberg, Emma Raney, Courtney Ziegelmeyer
Lighting Design: Larry Csernik
Starting a new season in their very own space – a flexible black box in which the audience sits just a few feet from the performers, Mutual Dance Theatre (an artistic marriage of the Jefferson James Contemporary Dance Theatre and MamLuft&Co.Dance) is the recently renamed brain-child of artistic director Jeanne Mam-Luft.
The company has just premiered two works: Pulpand Variations in a Brainstorm.
In Pulp, the audience surrounds six female performers in the intimate Mutual Arts Center’s black box studio. The dancers, dressed in loose-fitting blue dance gear first begin by getting the audience to help to choose a unique sequence of events that will never again be performed in that same order. They do so by taking numbers 1 through 11 out of a box.
The six dancers then proceed to move through a series of sequences involving mostly free-flowing modern dance vocabulary with an occasional balletic move. They have for props several baskets with oranges that become throughout Pulp their only props.
In Variations in a Brainstorm, sheets of paper containing writings of different kinds and a writing desk with a lamp help provide the audience with some clues about the various emotional states of the six dancers. This time they are casually clad in beiges and blacks, as if ready for a rehearsal.
I had not had an opportunity to catch a performance of these two new works by this amazing dance company until this Friday, November 19th, 2021 at 8pm. But that is not to say that I had never seen them before, because I actually did see and grew to admire their cutting edge work over the past several years, every time becoming more of a fan of theirs.
If you try to ascribe a narrative meaning to this most American of dance forms you are barking up the wrong kinetic tree, for Modern Dance is a close relative of performance art, where the unspoken and the poetic suffice unto themselves with no need for us to ask what it all means.
The juxtaposing of apparently contradictory elements in these two intriguing works – a stream of consciousness spoken narrative in Variations in a Brainstorm, the mixing up of Schubert with Baroque music with Country, with Freddy Quinn, and with you name it in Pulp serves to underpin the fact that in this kind of theatrical dancing the medium, as Marshall McLuhan said, is the message.
I encourage you to see Mutual Dance Theatre in action. There is one final performance of Pulp and Variations in a Brainstorm on Saturday, November 20th, 2021 at 8pm. If you are not able to see Mutual Dance Theatre this week then make sure to visit their website. There you will get a glimpse of what the company has in store for Modern Dance fans – and that’s not just their own work.
As presenters they will bring to Cincinnati two noted dance ensembles: PHILADANCO (1/21& 22/22), and SIDRA BELL DANCE NEW YORK (3-25&26-22). The company offers several subscription deals starting at the ridiculously low price of $17.
Most of their performances are at Mutual Arts Center Hartwell, 8222 Monon Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45216. Some will be at the Aronoff’s smaller of their two theatres.
Information at www.mutualdance.org
Rafael de Acha ALL ABOUT THE ARTS