In ‘The Multiplicity of Us,’ the Regina Klenjoski Dance company provides ability in vulnerability

Ora Sawyers

The Kansas Reflector welcomes belief pieces from writers who share our purpose of widening the conversation about how public insurance policies have an impact on the working day-to-working day lives of people throughout our point out. Emily Christensen is a journalist centered in Wichita who writes about arts and lifestyle.

The flexibility, power and management needed of specialist dancers places them in a classification higher than us mere mortals.

At the very least, that is how it often seems to me from my seat in the viewers. Even when utilizing their bodies to talk ambivalence or anxiousness, dancers appear to be in ideal command.

“The Multiplicity of Us,” a new function by the Regina Klenjoski Dance Firm, pierces that illusion.

Four dancers complete the 30-moment modern perform, which premiered past weekend at the Lux Ballroom in Wichita. Klenjoski, RKDC’s artistic director and choreographer, incorporates voice recordings and spoken term into the efficiency. These purpose mostly as monologues, equally interior and exterior. In a single duet, two dancers feel to be talking earlier each other in buy to deal with the viewers:

— Am I too loud?

— Can you see me?

— I’m standing tall.

— Is she standing tall more than enough?

Klenjoski developed the script in collaboration with organization dancers Aviance Battles, Elleigh McClelland, Rile Reavis, Rhiannon Vieyra and apprentice Timothy Portwood. Every collaborator responded to journal prompts about their identities, and Klenjoski pulled from these texts to build the monologues dancers communicate although executing solos and duets. (With one exception: Reavis’ component was prerecorded.) 

The effect reminded me of the theatrical principle of breaking the fourth wall. The term refers to the symbolic “wall” amongst the performers and the viewers, which is “broken” when an actor acknowledges the presence of viewers by specifically addressing them.

Acknowledging, addressing and even incorporating the audience is nothing at all new in dance, but in revealing the interior life and occasionally-conflicting identities of her performers, Klenjoski and her organization choose the exercise further.

Similarly, choreography set to spoken word has been all over because the early times of contemporary dance: Martha Graham herself performed with the thought when she made choreography to accompany a reading of Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Means of Hunting at a Blackbird.” But the revealing character of the language in “The Multiplicity of Us” and its link to the performers’ lived experiences startled me. It felt new. 

Originally conceived as an exploration of her bicultural identification as a Macedonian American, Klenjoski broadened her inquiry to include things like other facets, specially her twin roles as artist and mom. But “The Multiplicity of Us” actually began to get condition when she questioned her corporation to sign up for her in the process of ideation.

After the 30-minute performance, Regina Klenjoski, RKDC artistic director and choreographer, and company apprentice Timothy Portwood joined the performers for a brief conversation with the audience. (Fernando Salazar/Regina Klenjoki Dance Company)
Soon after the 30-minute general performance, Regina Klenjoski, RKDC inventive director and choreographer, and organization apprentice Timothy Portwood joined the performers for a quick conversation with the viewers. (Fernando Salazar/Regina Klenjoki Dance Company)

Some of the collaboratively made monologues are more productive than many others at times, I shed track of the that means guiding the terms. The talking areas have been extra artful than not, however, and shipped properly by the dancers who did so are living, even when executing a elevate or flat-footed pirouette.

There had been funny moments. In the first sequence, Reavis asks, “What is my function in this dance?” He provides the line with noticeable anxiety, possibly even a contact of imposter syndrome. Does he genuinely belong on this phase, in this efficiency at all? We’ve all been there — maybe not on phase, but who amongst us hasn’t paused in the center of the work day to question if we definitely belong.

Vieyra sent a standout solo that commenced with a chant of “six a person, six a single,” referencing her top, a obvious part of her identity. In one more solo minute, Battles slowly and gradually pirouettes like a jewelry-box ballerina, one who is slowly and gradually winding — or breaking — down.

The quartet of dancers every single sent sturdy performances, each alone and jointly. Wichita is over and above fortuitous to have accessibility to a skilled contemporary dance organization of this caliber. It is also refreshing to see 4 dancers whose bodies glance distinctly distinctive from one a further conduct wonderfully collectively.

The Lux Ballroom, situated on the first flooring of a downtown apartment creating and future doorway to the Tallgrass Movie Heart, is a ideal location for personal dance performances. There, “The Multiplicity of Us” was staged in front of a black curtain, the viewers seated in two rows of 50 chairs organized in a semi-circle all around the performance house. The dancers wore very simple tan, tank-design and style leotards beneath cropped trousers. In the custom of fashionable and modern dance, they performed barefoot.

The corporation provided audiences two means of engaging with the issue matter. On getting into the overall performance place, viewers have been asked to fill out a identify tag with their title and two of their identities. Just after the overall performance, Klenjoski and her company conducted a 15-moment concern-and-remedy session.

– Really don’t fail to remember to insert writer

The firm presented audiences two suggests of partaking with the subject matter make a difference. Upon entering the overall performance area, viewers have been asked to fill out a identify tag with their name and two of their identities. Soon after the general performance, Klenjoski and her business done a 15-moment issue-and-remedy session.

Though not necessary to comprehend the performance, I enjoyed hearing how the words, choreography, and rating (by Aurélie Webb) came alongside one another. Inviting viewers questions also gives a level of entry for viewers who may perhaps be unfamiliar with — or intimidated by — up to date dance.

In distinction, I’m not sure you could utilize a far more daunting tactic than inquiring incoming patrons to pretty much label them selves when they wander in the doorway. This exercise would have been greater saved for the brief pause in advance of the talkback portion. At that level, the viewers could be assured that they would not inadvertently become part of the general performance.

My quibbles with “The Multiplicity of Us” are slight, however. Its humor, vulnerability and even heartbreak make it really worth catching. And whilst the premiere’s short operate has concluded, Kansas audiences will have potential alternatives to see this enterprise perform.

In his solo, Reavis asks, “Is dance enough?” It’s a common problem for artists who speculate if they really should expend their time on something diverse, more remunerative, additional “worthwhile.” It’s a reminder that artists, even able kinds, are not superhuman right after all.

By way of its impression area, the Kansas Reflector works to amplify the voices of persons who are affected by general public guidelines or excluded from general public discussion. Come across information and facts, such as how to post your personal commentary, here.

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