I Choose To Dance

Thoughts about life as a dance and other non-categorized amblings.

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Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Talent and Familiar Faces

3 September 2009

Walking into a Wylliams/Henry rehearsal in studio 108 this summer it was a pleasure to see a familiar face, former Kansas City Ballet dancer Christopher Barksdale. Chris, who retired from KCB after this last spring season (2009) may be moving into "old" country for a ballet dancer (at age 36) but he is still a performer and is working at an expanded set of performances from dance to theater. Here he was rehearsing for Trap Door Party by 21-year old Josh Beamish from Vancouver whose dance reputation is rapidly expanding. His 4-year old company will be in traveling across Europe and Asia next year.

Young and "old" working together. The dancers themselves range in age from Josh's age to beyond Chris's age (21 to early 40's). Trap Door Party is an intricate and complex work, alternating between slow and high energy movements. This is a special edition modified from the original length of more than an hour to around 20 minutes.

2-Steppin - no moves from the tables

23 August 2009

When I heard that this 2-Steppin dance was going to be held in the KC Power and Light District my first thought was to the screw-up over a Hip-Hop artist a few months ago. That was a PR dumb play, which followed an already bad reputation among KC's black population due to dress codes which were considered aimed at keeping out African Americans.

KCP&L is already being called the KC Power and White district. Maybe, I thought, this was an attempt to make amends for the Hip-Hop artist incident which was initially suspicious of the KCP&L story and then totally disbelieving of the KCP&L story when I heard the longer account of events that evening.

One of the claims was that the DJ had blown out the house speakers, even though they continued later with other sound. I shoot events (video and stills) and am often hooked up to a line feed from the sound person. While the feed is sometimes too hot at the start, that is what the sound checks are designed to root out and make right, before the performance. In my own opinion (not having been there) the KCP&L story is still fishy, but, maybe this is a trek back to the right direction.

The management of Maker's Mark was not going to move back the tables to make room for dancing. So, organizer De Barker sent out text messages saying, no dancing. Just socializing and music listening. That, to a large group of folks who like to get out and really dance, not just slosh the sauce.

View from the top side: the four-tops in the center are un-occupied and the dancers are relagated to space outside the area or between tables.

The turnout was light. The tables stayed were they were even though they were not filled. The dancers were forced to find what room they could between tables and to the sides of the room, used as an aisle from front to back. All the occupants were from the 2-steppin' crowd.

The floor overall is a nice, hardwood surface. No special dance area, it covers the entire floor. Whatever area is opened up makes a nice dance area. It just needs more area (read, move the tables).

Kacico Song and Dance Project

Kacicos Song and Dance project is even more satisfying that the first time it was released. Now, it seems to fit like and old shoe and the performers are just as familiar with it. They are turning in practiced and polished performances. The Song And Dance project puts musician/composers together with dancers and choreographers in performance. As with the familiarity of the performance itself the Song And Dance project keeps adding new material and returning to primary material. These are funny and dramatic and fun and real. They are songs of life and living and flights of fancy.

Program for July 2009 (Fringe)
Kacico Dancers (For Fringe 2009 Concert):
Shandi Fine, Lindsay Spilker Tate, Tuesday Faust, Allison McKinzie, Holly Noel Harmison, Kathryn Cowan, Maggie Osgood, Chris Dunn, Michelle Diane Brown (artistic director)

Music Laura Lisbeth
Choreography Kathryn Cowan
Dancers Lindsay, Holly, Michelle

Music Erik Karlsson
Choreography Michelle Diane Brown
Dancer Shandi

The Duct Tape Song
Music Dave Patmore
Choreography Michelle Diane Brown
Dancers Shandi, Lindsay

Handful of Air
Music Rick Malsick
Choreography Lindsay Spilker Tate
Dancers Maggie, Shandi

Music Laura Lisbeth
Choreography Shandi Fine
Dancers Holly, Tuesday, Shandi

Music Karim Memi
Choreography Michelle Diane Brown
Dancers Lindsay, Michelle

Special Kind of Blue
Music Erik Karlsson
Choreographer Lindsay Spilker Tate
Dancers Kathryn, Tuesday, Lindsay, Maggie

I Fell Down Twice Today
Music Dave Patmore

Nobody's Place Like Home
Music Rick Malsick
Choreography Holly Noel Harmison
Dancer Shandi

Blendomatic (music duet)
Music Karim Memi, Dave Patmore

Athena Suite
Music Rick Malsick
Choreography Michelle Diane Brown
Dancers Kathryn, Lindsay, Shandi, Tuesday

Costumes: Choreographers and Laura Powell


Sunday, June 05, 2005

KC Dance

KCDance - This is my main web site, started in 1997. It was orginally for the purpose of showing other dancers where to get lessons on the cheap and then where to go out dancing in the Kansas City area. It has grown.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

City in Motion had to re-stage most of their pieces for last Saturday. Katie Alexander broke her ankle coming down from a leap during dress Friday night. I was shooting stills at the time but missed that. I was looking at the two dancers in front. Dave Burkhardt from KCPT (19) was shooting video next to me and must have missed it because he asked what happened. I guess he was also focusing on the foreground dancers. Katie was moving upstage from stage left to right and was a little past the halfway mark.

She hit and went down with a thump then must have hopped or crawled off in a near panic into the wings on stage right. We heard her sobbing and her fists hitting the floor. Dale Fellin got to her first I think. He was in the wings. Jaenae and Joanna were onstage and stopped everything to get to Katie. By the time (the short time) I got out from behind my tripod and up the stage the ice bags and wrappings were already out. Beth Byrd took her to the hospital, Baptist Memorial as Katie called parents, boy friend, etcetera who met them at the emergency room. It was especially tough on her because Katie had put in the last year preparing for this performance at the GEM. She is also one year out of the conservatory at UMKC.

In the meantime Donna Frogge was coming apart in three directions, Katie, choreography and stepping in as a dancer. It was almost too much. City in Motion is a small company and you couldn't just plug in an understudy. But they all got their professional act together, as a little pro family, and got to work to completly redo most of the pieces. Dale helped spot one of the pieces and you could see the re-arrangements working out.

At first everyone was serious and all business. After about half an hour the first laughs. They were coming back. In the meantime Andrea called Maia about possibly replacing Katie in a couple of the parts. Maia had danced this in January at the Folly performance. I got the impression that Maia Cortissozz was out of state. It was a couple of hours later that Maia called to say she couldn't make it.

Dave the camera guy from channel 19 left after about 20-30 minutes or so. I stayed a couple of hours and left. I didn't get back until after most rehearsals were done. I needed to setup a picture display at the front of the theater. I never did sell any but the silent auction did sell the "Dear Friend" piece with Katie Jenkins from Wylliams/Henry doing a leap across the back of a cello player. City in Motion got $40 for that. Glad someone sold one of mine, even if it wasn't me. Went for an okay cause anyway.

The show turned out just fine. I think if you didn't know the pieces were re-worked for one less dancer and that Donna did fill in on two of the pieces, even though she hasn't been dancing with the company for a couple of years, you never would have known. Anyway, CIM did a nice thing and dedicated the performance to Katie Alexander. Then for the final company bows they brought Katie on stage, crutches, leg brace and all, to take bows and receive one of the bouquets. I have some nice pictures of that.

I am getting ready for the ballet tomorrow night. I am shooting three of the pieces during the last dress before opening night. Video. That is thanks to Mary Pat's recommendations to Bill Whitener. I don't know that I will ever feel I know enough. The more I do this the more I realize how little I know. Probably should have remained ignorant. (ha)

I think dancers are some of the most amazing acrobats. Enormous strength and discipline combined with grace and perfect timing and they still have to get the form just right.

Anyway two of the pieces are by Bill and one is by visiting artist Robert Hill. They all look great. The first piece is really cute and a lot of fun. A hill-billy number about youth and a first kiss. Very spirited and a delight. Sometimes it is hard to believe that this is really ballet. They aren't in toe shoes for the first two numbers. I am shooting the first, third and fourth numbers. This will be at the Lyric Opera.

Haven, which is the second piece is very dark and I am a bit worried about image quality. I opens with three very narrow and piercing spikes of light on three dancers. Even when the light becomes more broad it stays pretty dim. Nicole is doing the wide shots and the Sony is better in dark than is my GL2. She should have a little more leeway. I may have to boost the GL2's gain so that means I will use it as the detail camera. The larger images should show less apparent breakup even when the gain is boosted.

This blog is only about dancing as a metaphor, although I do dance. Really that is the reason for the metaphor. The beauty of dance is in the immediate physical analogy between dance and the rest of life. Just getting up to dance is itself the act of participating in life, rather than sitting.