BWW Reviews: BalaSole Dance Company Focuses on Artistic Freedom and Process in VOCES, 1/26 and 1/27

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Voces meaning "voices" in Italian seemed to be the most appropriate title for this past weekend's BalaSole Dance Company's performance at the Joan Weill Center for Dance at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre. Under the executive and artistic direction of Roberto Villanueva, the company provides its dancers with the means to explore their own process of dance-making and present their work.

The evening began and ended with a piece choreographed and performed by the company, the rest was a compilation of solos choreographed and performed by the individual company members. Based on the mission of the company, these dancers have varying backgrounds, have trained in various dance styles and come together to support each other's creative process.

In a culture driven by the need to satisfy end points and goals, BalaSole's emphasis on the creative process is extremely refreshing. Generally one goes to see a show with the mindset that each dancer is part of a larger collective. These dancers have rehearsed for many months if not years together, and generally, under the direction of one person, the company seeks to establish an evening of repertoire that is consistent and polished. But here there was a difference.

The dancers choreographed their own solos, in the style of their choice and to the music of their choice. It was interesting to see what each dancer elected to explore. Many of the pieces, including #Lovesick, performed and choreographed by Aaron Gregory, and 2 Tears in a Bucket, performed and choreographed by TRoy Barnes, appeared to have deep roots in exploring emotion and performance in dance. While both dancers added technical and virtuosic movement to their choreography, the dances were highly emotive and reached the audience on a level of feeling that all of us can share.

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Stephanie Deere Stephanie Deere began dancing at the age of three at Studio C in Los Angeles. She continued to pursue her passion and attended the University of California, Irvine as a dance major. Stephanie studied under notable choreographers such as Donald McKayle, Loretta Livingston, Jodi Gates, Lisa Naugle, Molly Lynch, and Michele Gervais. Stephanie graduated Magna Cum Laude with her BA in dance and a minor in management and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in dance. Currently, Stephanie lives in New York City, teaches dance, choreographs, performs with various companies and groups in the area, and is a company member with Undertoe Dance Project. She is very excited to be a part of this blossoming community of dance in New York City.