- March 16, 2016
The dancers begin to stretch inside the tight confines of the New College fitness center. Their next three hours of rehearsal will be one of intense physical and mental focus. They will need to be limber and open to memorizing new steps, but also be ready to enter new worlds.
Though Sarasota Contemporary Dance (formerly Fuzion Dance Artists) has been an active presence in Sarasota’s dance scene for the last decade, this new-choreography showcase allows the group to re-introduce itself. After changing its name in September, the company is gearing up for its last performance with its former moniker: “Voices of Fuzión.”
In the performance, which runs Dec. 3 through 6, at the Cook Theatre, co-founder Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, along with choreographers Benjamin Howe, Xiao-Xuan Yang Danciger and Erin Fletcher, will each share their stories through pieces they’ve been choreographing since July.
For Wilmott and the rest of the choreographers, the months of work and exhausting rehearsals are worth the sweat. It’s where they — and the company as a whole — have been able to grow as dancers and as an organization.
The company is entering a crossroads. With a new name, Sarasota Contemporary Dance has been experiencing growth spurts. It is in the middle of a 10th anniversary season that features a record-high five programs, it has grown to a troupe of 15 members, and it has plans to move into its own dance studio in the Rosemary District.
Wilmott says this performance is a prime example of the company’s current state of transition. Every new piece showcases each choreographer’s unique journey of growth over the last five months.
“In a show like this, you’re really choreographing your heart,” says Wilmott. “Being a choreographer is to be in a very vulnerable place.”
Those stories include everything from the every day to the emotional. From Howe dealing with his mother being diagnosed with cancer and Wilmott telling how her best friend lost her leg in a car accident, to Danciger’s hectic life as a mother of two young sons and Fletcher’s experiences in New York City, “Voices of Fuzion” offers direct insight into the experiences of the dancers.
“I’m providing a platform for my company members to share the possibilities of contemporary dance with our community,” Wilmott says.
And to understand these stories through movement, one has to know and understand SCD’s choreographers. Learn more about them here.
Name of Piece: “MOMOBE”
Dance Style: Hip-hop, ballet, popping and break dancing
Number of dancers: Two
Music: Rhythmic tribal music and electronica composed by Karim Manning
Story: “There are two sections. The beginning details the relationship between a mother and son. It’s really about my relationship with my mom. I found out three weeks ago that she was diagnosed with cancer. I want the audience to feel that even though we’re far apart (she lives in Cleveland), that we’re still close. The second section is about the evolution of a relationship between a man and a woman falling in and out of love.”
If the voice of your movement could sing, what would it sound like? “It would be an epic movie soundtrack. Something like Hans Zimmer.”
Name of Piece: “under the silence”
Dance style: Modern and abstract
Number of Dancers: Six
Music: Loud electronic rock and electronica composed by Danciger’s husband, Mark
Story: “I was really inspired by becoming a mom. I have two boys. The oldest is 3 and the youngest is 11 months. So with boys playing and moving around constantly, dance is where I find my silence. At home, I’m constantly surrounded by the sound of my two kids. Even when I’m lying down in bed and they’re napping, I’m still listening for any kind of sound they’re making. So in this piece, I wanted to explore the emotions of silence.
If the voice of your movement could sing, what would it sound like? “It sounds like a bowl filled with beans slowly tipping over and cascading onto the floor.”
Name of Piece: “When Dawn Comes Knocking”
Dance style: Modern and improvisational
Number of dancers: Nine
Music: Percussive, punk-rock opera composed by Edward Cosla
Story: “I just wanted to concentrate on movement telling a story. Loosely, it’s about human transition and rebirth within the sounds of a city. We’re visualizing man being trapped by his environment and either breaking free or staying trapped in his zone.”
If the voice of your movement could sing, what would it sound like? “My dancing would sound like Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie.”
Name of Piece: “Timeline”
Dance style: Modern and emotional
Number of dancers: One
Music: None, except for a Portuguese lullaby sung by the dancer
Story: “This piece started out with me and my friend Stephanie Bastos literally writing out a giant timeline of her life. Everything from the first time she danced when she was 4 years old in a production of ‘The Nutcracker,’ to the time in high school when she lost her leg in a car accident. We started doing improvisational exercises based on big events in her life. I don’t do a lot of solo pieces, but I wanted to create something about her and her journey. Stephanie dances through the main moments of her life. It isn’t strictly chronological, but we wanted a piece to reflect her journey.”
If the voice of your movement could sing, what would it sound like? Reggae.