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BWW Review: NEW WORKS 2020 (& BEYOND)

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How dancers came together remotely.

BWW Review: NEW WORKS 2020 (& BEYOND)
Grace-Anne and Austin Powers performing In The Silence.
Choreography by Cooper Verona.
Photos by Savannah Caines.

Contemporary Dance is a collaborative style, including modern and ballet elements, as well as sometimes jazz and hip hop. This fusion is the trademark of Chamber Dance Project, the D.C.-based company, with founding artistic director Diane Coburn Bruning at its helm.

Like everywhere else- but especially in today's performing arts scene- this season at CDP was not the same as every other. In previous years, Chamber Dance Project brought leading ballet dancers to the nation's capital during the summer while the prestigious companies they're associated with were on hiatus.

This year, because of the coronavirus, the dancers stayed home: in Los Angeles, Columbus, Milwaukee, and elsewhere. They worked with remote choreographers and local videographers to produce world-premiere dance pieces filmed outdoors and in public places.

After rehearsals held in the dancers' homes, Chamber Dance Project streamed these dance works online on July 31, under the collective title of New Works 2020 (& beyond) It offered free tickets for the click of a link. Each world-premiere work represented a different amalgam of ballet and modern elements, but all were excellently and excitingly danced.

Berceuse, filmed at the Milwaukee Art Museum, featured Luz San Miguel and Davit Hovhannisyan. Dressed in black, the two dancers performed the most traditionally balletic, and the most romantic and elegant, of the three pieces. Hovhannisyn was even en pointe.

The most-angular piece, Sarabande, was performed solo by dancer/choreographer Christian Denice. It was set in Los Angeles's Sepulveda Dam, with the architectural background enhancing his powerful movements. In In the Silence, Grace-Anne Powers and Austin Powers, all in white, performed the most-sensuous work as their bodies intertwined.

Coburn Bruning has expressed the belief that dance should be a collaboration between dancers and musicians - that artists sharing the creative process with their audiences deepens the audience's experience.

On September 24, Chamber Dance Project will present another world premiere -a film incorporating eight of the company's dancers and a new collaboration.


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