Starr Foster Dance Project, now in its 12th year, presented three new works this past weekend to its hometown audience at the Grace St. Theatre.
Opening the show was the premiere of The River Runs With Poison. Simple fabric panels run along the stage as the dancers are situated on either side. Based on their submissive movements and intense focus, we know immediately that this will not have a happy ending. As the piece continues, the fabric is no longer just a set piece, but resembles an umbilical cord connecting the dancers. Kathleen Brady and Teddy Gregson’s duet was heartbreakingly beautiful as they seamlessly move from inseparable to ripped apart.
Under Giant Trees, was my favorite piece of the evening. Michael Jarett’s stunning lighting design transformed the theatre space in to a dark forest with hues of greens and blues. The dancers, their bodies moving in a circular pattern, resembled a coven of witches casting spells. Soloist Jordan Livermon is everything you would want from a dancer. She is a confident, compassionate performer who makes challenging movements look effortless. Her performance in this piece was nothing short of perfection.
Closing the show was the greatly anticipated premiere of Nineteen43. This piece, inspired by Foster’s grandmother who escaped the Holocaust, tugs at your heartstrings immediately. A video describing her journey at the start of the piece was an intelligent choice as I found myself rehearing her stories as the dancers moved from scene to scene. Foster’s dynamic and well-crafted choreography melted flawlessly with Robbie Kinter’s exceptional soundtrack and another successful lighting design concept from Jarett. In one memorable section, the dancers shuffle horizontally across the stage hiding one another as lights flash on and off and train whistles blew. It is moments like this that the collaborative effort behind Nineteen43 really shines.
Even a day after seeing this performance I am left thinking about the show. Foster is gifted at creating images that stick with you. Whether it is an embrace between dancers or a line of shoes, Foster’s ability to produce from the inside out is what makes her artwork so successful.
Rebecca A. Ferrell, a native of Richmond, Virginia, is a dance educator, choreographer and performer. She is currently the artistic director of FDANCE, a project dedicated to her work as an intervention dance artist. Rebecca holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University as well as a MFA in Dance from Arizona State University. She is currently adjunct faculty at VCU Dance and is in charge of dance curriculum at John Tyler Community College. When she is not dancing, Rebecca is making cupcakes, breaking hearts, and obsessing over the color pink.
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