Starr Foster’s ‘LEVITATE’ returns (from the dead) at The Basement this weekend
If there is one word that describes Starr Foster Dance Project’s LEVITATE, it is this: Otherworldly.
What more could you expect from a production whose central theme is the afterlife?
Originally making its premiere in 2014, the 5-section, 45-minute modern dance piece was born after artistic director Starrene Foster read the Mary Roach novel, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. LEVITATE is now back (from the dead?) by popular demand to bring its ethereal acts to The Basement at TheatreLab from January 14th through 15th, with two casts and two performances on each day.
After talks between Foster and TheatreLab created the opportunity to give the dance — which incorporates feathers, lanterns, cornstarch throwing, and dancers climbing the walls — the space it needed, “All the pieces fell into place,” said Foster. “You can’t do this dance in a conventional proscenium setting.”
LEVITATE is a performance that, like water, adapts to its vessel, something primary dancer Jordan Livermon Glunt experienced first hand when she made the transition from the original performance to the upcoming revival.
“The audience is able to sit on two sides of the performers, which is not the same as last time, and the light totally changes the space you’re performing in,” said Glunt. “When Starr told me we’d be bringing it back, I was really excited, because it’s not a typical dance.”
LEVITATE is layered with far-out elements, from lantern-only lighting that is completely controlled by the dancers, to the musical score, which was created specifically for the show, and at times written before or after the choreography, by composer Joey Luck.
“There were pieces where I would get videos from rehearsal and I would be inspired by the movement, other pieces… Starr and I would exchange drafts,” said Luck. “It’s not typical, being able to bring the music in with the video and show them what I was thinking.”
The Starr Foster Dance Project, which was created by Foster in 2001 and is close to its sixteenth anniversary, is known for showcasing the unique abilities of each dancer, and creating a-typical pairings that flaunt the universal style of modern dance.
“Modern dance works with gravity, the whole technique is based on the concept of fall and recovery,” said Foster. “It has a lot of range of expression.”
This range, Foster pointed out, allows her choreography to take advantage of the full spectrum of her company’s talent. “Nothing is gender-specific, so you get women with women and men with men. The women in my company are power houses.”
As for what the audience can expect from the supernatural spectacle, both Foster and Glunt say that viewer takeaways are allowed to be flexible.
“LEVITATE is a collage of all these images of what different people believe [happens after you die],” said Foster. “There’s a concept and an idea, but it’s really about provoking thought and provoking the imagination.”
“I hope the audience is able to find something for themselves in it, in how they interpret the subject,” said Glunt.
For more information on the Starr Foster Dance Project, and details of LEVITATE, visit their website here.
Photos via Doug Hall/Starr Foster Dance Project
The company’s performers’ are passionate dancers who fall to the floor meticulously sans hesitation, or even lift multiple partners up easily sans doubt.January 21, 2016
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