Moving Ethos Dance Co. explores the patterns of love in its newest performance.
The office policy regarding personal life is a little different at Moving Ethos Dance Co.
In creating the contemporary theatrical dance company’s new performance, “and back again,” Director Leah Verier-Dunn encouraged dancers not to leave their personal lives at the door — but to bring them to work.
The new contemporary dance piece, which premieres Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Urbanite Theatre, explores the idea of love — specifically, the recurring patterns that emerge in people’s love lives and how the decisions they make in the present affect their lives in the future.
To do that, she says incorporating personal experiences was key.
“The concept of love is something I’ve always been drawn to, creatively,” she says. “I wanted the dancers to express their own stories and tell them through movement. I’ve explored the concept of love in the past, but this is about relationships, specifically. We see each person’s story unfold from beginning to end.”
The idea, she says, was to share a broad range of experiences. The six dancers range in age from mid-20s to mid-40s, and they represent a diverse spectrum. Some have been married, divorced, had children, have dated both men and women — others have never had a serious relationship.
Throughout the performance, each dancer tells his or her story. To help bring them to life, Verier-Dunn uses a few creative exercises.
“I asked each of the dancers to go to someone they knew and ask them to write them a love letter,” she says. “They were asked to use words that could be used in dance. Seeing the responses was really interesting. They were so heartfelt and representative of both the writers and subjects. One person even wrote theirs in the form of a spreadsheet.”
She also asked the dancers to write a letter to themselves, knowing artists can often be their own toughest critics.
“It’s been an emotional process,” says Verier-Dunn. “Some people have experienced serious loss and heartache. It’s been amazing to watch it come together. It’s been a healing process.”
The performance hints at the often-shortsighted nature of decision-making when it comes to love. People, she says, are often focused on immediate outcomes, not realizing — or not caring about — the patterns they develop and fall into, and how they impact future choices.
It’s a theme that’s reflected in the title. Verrier-Dunn says it represents the middle of a thought, or even the middle of a cycle.
“I wanted it to be open-ended,” she says. “It’s not the start of something; it’s not the end of something. It’s like a mirror the viewer can use to see their own meanings reflected. I hope that’s how they see the performance, too.”