A Look Behind the Scenes at Inlet Dance's Marvelous Evening of Dance

Related: Inlet Dance Theatre, Bil Wade, Kapila Palihawadana, CHAKRA, CENTER OF THE EARTH (TE PITO O TE HENUA)

A look behind the scenes at Inlet Dance's marvelous evening of dance 

Roy Berko

(Member, Dance Critics Association)

Every once in a while a reviewer has the opportunity to not only see an enthralling dance performance, but to experience it from the inside.  I accomplished both when I not only saw Inlet Dance's recent evening of dance, but sat in on a rehearsal.

Inlet Dance Theatre's sold out November 16 performance at the Hanna Theatre consisted of two world premieres.  

The opening number was a ten-minute excerpt from CHAKRA, choreographed by Kapila Palihawadana.  Kapila is a Sri Lankan born dancer/choreographer/founder and artistic director of nATANDA Dance Theatre of Sri Lanka.  He is one of five International Artists who are participating in a three-month stay in the area through the Cleveland Foundation's Creative Fusion International Artist-in-Residence Program.  Kapila has spent his time working with Inlet dancers and engaging in sharing his talents throughout the community.  The culmination of his residency will be the full unveiling of CHAKRA at Cleveland Public Theatre's Danceworks '13.  

CHAKRA, with mood-right lighting by Trad Burns, flowing costumes designed by Kapila, Ivan Leccaroa Correra and Kristin Wade, and an original acoustic drum score by Sean Ellis Hussey, was emotionally involving.  The athletic piece, with strong leaps and powerful interactions, represented a traditional healing ceremony.   The short excerpt insured pleasurable anticipation of the forthcoming staging.

From 2006 through 2008, Inlet Dance participated in the Ohio Arts Council's International Artist Exchange Program.  Artistic director Bill Wade travelled to Easter Island to select an artist from the island to come to Cleveland.  The next year Akahanga Rapu Tuki came to Cleveland  to teach the Inlet dancers five traditional dances from Rapa Nui.  In 2008 seven Inlet dancers travelled to Easter Island to complete the artist exchange.   They spent two weeks performing, teaching and exploring and forming a "family" with the island residents.  

The results of these exchanges inspired CENTER OF THE EARTH (TE PITO O TE HENUA).  Developed in small segments, the final melding of the parts became public at the Hanna Theatre presentation.  It will be repeated at the International Performing Arts for Youth Conference in Philadelphia during its January session. 

The results of the years of effort was obvious to the enthralled audience.  CENTER OF THE EARTH is a tour de force.  The first segment, Hotu Matua, explores the idea of a healthy interdependent community centering on the journey of the people coming to Rapa Nui on canoes.  The water, the waves, the cooperative movements were all vividly apparent.   

Three women and then three men next illustrated the clear gender specific roles and dances of the residents.  Exploring the island left an impression of the physical environment and was illustrated in the fourth segment, Lave Tubes, with the dancers forming visual images of the topography, the needed dexterity to transverse the land, and how cooperation was required to be successful.  

More On: International Artists, Arts Council.

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Roy Berko Roy Berko, a life-long Clevelander, holds degrees, through the doctorate from Kent State, University of Michigan and The Pennsylvania State University. Roy was an actor for many years, appearing in more than 16 plays, 8 TV commercials, and 3 films. He has directed more than 30 productions. A member of the American Critics Association, the Dance Critics Association and The Cleveland Critics Circle, he has been an entertainment reviewer for more than twenty years.

For many years he was a regular on Channel 5, ABC-Cleveland's "Morning Exchange" and "Live on 5," serving as the stations communication consultant. He has also appeared on "Good Morning America." Roy served as the Director of Public Relations for the Volunteer Office in the White House during the first Clinton Administration.

He is a professor of communication and psychology who taught at George Washington University, University of Maryland, Notre Dame College of Ohio and Towson University. Roy is the author of 31 books. Several years ago, he was selected by Cleveland Magazine as one of the most interesting people in Cleveland.

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