Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Review: EDGING NORMAL, Performed by Desmond Richardson, Choreographed by Jacob Jonas, Premieres February 22, 2021

Dance, Jacob Jonas The Company, EDGING NORMAL.performed by Desmond Richardson

BWW Review: EDGING NORMAL, Performed by Desmond Richardson, Choreographed by Jacob Jonas, Premieres February 22, 2021

Films.Dance, a groundbreaking global film series produced by and under the creative direction of LA-based Jacob Jonas The Company continues on February 22 with EDGING NORMAL, the fifth of 15 short dance films to be released to the community at no cost every Monday through May 8, 2021.

The films premiere for free at 9 a.m. PST on the Web at Films.Dance, each consecutive Monday, on Instagram on the account, and the Films.Dance Facebook page.

Just the anticipation of watching Desmond Richardson perform, is exciting.
And after seeing and reviewing Jacob Jonas's Dance company perform his choreography in the past, I was equally excited to see what would be produced from this collaboration.

The body is an instrument of movement united with rhythm, energy, intent, passion and sound. Dramatic and impending sounds, and a close-up of Desmond's face silhouette-ly lit in the dark emoting to us a troubling feeling from his body language, that emerges to a sense, both musically and physically of impending hope and renewal. As the music emboldens the movements, still in a close-up of just his head and shoulder movements, there are emotions and thoughts whirling around together that we feel from him. As the brass sounds out the welling emotions, we feel anguish, despair, awareness, many realizations, all still while just seeing the very top of his torso and head responding.

As his head lifts, there is a heaviness to his demeanor and we feel his acute awareness of senses and emotions conveyed through his every nuanced but deliberate miniscule movements. Reacting organically within, as trumpets blare, he's feeling so much in his head and heart and those feelings are not going anywhere...Strength and vulnerability are projected at the same time, all swirling together... the film blurring for a brief moment, as if an epiphany of sorts seems to happen... or so it seems. The deep darkness surrounding him is cut by his back-lit silhouette sitting on a stool, moving in specific ways, transforming his body and awakening new feelings.

His body is alive in each moment, every beat, moving to the music and emotions he feels, with extraordinary thoughtfulness, baring his soul within, and all its struggles and revelations. The force behind his movements adds to the impact of what he emanates.

Dave Koz' soulful sax accompaniment is dynamic, and so very moving. It completely envelops the effects of the choreography and deepens the sense of awakenings. We're reminded that nothing easy is worth struggling for...

The camerawork is highly effective, circling slowly around him to give us an all-sided view, and again, the lighting added much to the dynamics of the piece.

Desmond Richardson's line and body language are so descriptive, there is little not sensed and fathomed while viewing. The wild and vibrating movements he makes are telling a larger story during this man's evolution.

Masterfully executed and emoted, this mesmerizing piece is relatable to all of us in this time of uncertainty and change. We must all express our altered, raw, organic feelings to be able to truly understand ourselves and one another and move forward.

EDGING NORMAL, a metaphorical tale of a man's struggle to shed his past in order to feel completely free, features Desmond Richardson, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, dancing a new work choreographed by Jacob Jonas. Directed by Andre Bato, Edging Normal features music co-composed by visionary Steve Hackman and jazz icon Dave Koz, a nine-time Grammy Award-nominated saxophonist. Richardson, hailed by The New York Times as among the great dancers of his time, has been a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Frankfurt and American Ballet Theatre, appeared in the Oscar-winning film Chicago, and garnered a Tony Award nomination for his work in the Broadway musical Fosse. He has also worked as a featured dancer for artists including Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and Aretha Franklin, among an extensive list of credits.

Through non-traditional collaborations across cultures and continents, and led by the vision of Jacob Jonas, the series connects the perspectives of diverse artists from a range of disciplines, dance genres, abilities, and experiences. Filmed in locations ranging from Amsterdam, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, and London, to Los Angeles, New York, Nigeria, and Spain-Films.Dance exists at the intersection of dance, music, fashion, and film.

A series of weekly conversations and engagement events is in development and will allow for deeper exploration of the series themes, creative process, and perspectives of collaborating artists.

The initiative is presented in partnership with Somewhere Magazine, and co-presented by the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts/CSUN.

EDGING NORMAL will be followed by 正念 - NOW on March 1, DADU on March 8, ANOTHER SERIOUS DANCE FILM on March 15 and SAME SKY on March 22, 2021.

Films.Dance engaged more than 150 artists from 52 cities in 25 countries, culminating in 15 short films that have been shot during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each film will be available for at least a year on Jacob Jonas The Company's website Films.Dance. They will also be available on YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram and Facebook.

Featured Photo: Desmond Richardson

To visit the Jacob Jonas The Company website, go to

To visit the Somewhere Magazine website, go to

To visit The Wallis website, go to

To visit The Soraya website, go to

To visit The Harris Theatre website, go to

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles View More Dance Stories

From This Author Valerie-Jean Miller