A Plot that Leaps and Turns
by: Dissonance Dance Theatre
Vampires, zombies, tutus, and pointe shoes…Dissonance Dance Theatre founder Shawn Short has a flare for the dramatic. And in his first story ballet work entitled, Vampire Suite, the Washington D.C. native doesn’t shy away from his theatrical impulses as DDT opens its eighth season with Dance Noir, October 18-19 at the Joy of Motion Dance Center Jack Guidone Theater.
Dance Noir journeys the dark side tapping the lure of vampires and zombies in an exploration human desire, the need for acceptance, and consequences. Vampire Suite is the centerpiece of the production. It is the tale of Nina, who finds herself enchanted by young vampire Rex, who rescues her from the hands of Brine, leader of the vampire coven. The role of Nina, features DDT newcomer Coralynn C. Shiefelbein, age 18. In his second season with Dissonance William Wilson, 21, takes on the character Rex. Their young ages typify the company’s youthful look for season eight with a completely new female artist roster.
Short believes that youthfulness is essential in both creating an energetic production, such has become signature of DDT, and in compelling new audiences to contemporary ballet.
“Youth draws youth. Human beings are creatures of habit and we are most drawn to what looks like us. For concert dance to thrive in a millennium, there has to be a continuous draw of new audience members, especially among young adult demographic,” Short says. “With young dancers comes fire, and the hunger to want to excel and perform. There is a readiness to learn and soak up new material. Repertoire for season eight, will push their limits both technically and emotionally. I greatly anticipate their artistic growth, and how they will mature over the course of the season, and also how our audiences will react.”
Dance Noir also features the return of Philadelphia choreographer Ryan Tuerk, whose new work, 13th Hour, is set to an haunting piano adagio cover of music group Nirvana’s cult classic Smells Like Teen Spirit.
The eerie opening has a lone dancer, Damon Foster, succumbing to dark forces. Once possessed, he enters the sublime world of night creatures.
This is Tuerk ‘s third choreographic work with DDT. 13th Hour is a stark contrast from his first two works, the operatic-intense Rapture (2012) and the colorful Scars on My Memories (2013). This time out, going with the theme of the Dance Noir, Tuerk plays on his modern dance sensibilities, bringing a bit of quirkiness to the dark realm of possession.
“The main star of this work is the music, this piano rendition of an alternative rock classic. It’s textured and has a life of its own. The first time I came across it, I knew wanted to use it. The eeriness of the tone made a perfect fit for theme of Dance Noir. This was a fun work to set I enjoy the dancers of Dissonance. They come with a complete openness to try anything you give them.” Says Tuerk.
The third new work of Dance Noir Short’s Femme Fatale, a funky hip-hop meets en pointe, duet set to Beyonce’s smoldering Woman Like Me. Once again, Short showcases his love for the strong female persona as he blends robust classical technique with beat isolations, a shimmy here and there, and a whole lot of attitude.
“I think Woman Like Me is a forgotten gem of Beyonce’s. She embodies what is sexy, strong yet delicate, confident, and bold. I like to see those qualities when watching women dance on stage. Ballet does not equal soft. We want to thank Racheal Pearl and the Joy Of Motion staff for their support for Dissonance Dance Theatre over the years. It is with their compassion for dance that we are continuing to thrive and bring DC our first story ballet!
For more information on times and tickets visit www.ddtdc.org