Standing their ‘Ground’

By By Cressa Perloff

By Cressa Perloff

Afraid of what’s to come after college? If you’re into the performing arts, Dance Theatre Coalition has it all figured out for you.

Since 1980, Dance Theatre Coalition has provided opportunities for emerging artists to, in the words of founder Winnie Wood, get their “professional feet wet.” This past weekend’s Proving Ground Concert Series provided the perfect venue.

With eight very different pieces, Proving Ground showcased the work of local performing artists at the Black Box Theater in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.

Eva Meyer-Keller’s video vignettes, titled “Death is Certain,” infused the evening with creepy comedy as the audience watched cherries repeatedly get mutilated at the hands of the artist. To the audience’s delight, after each victim cherry spouted red juice a little too reminiscent of blood, Meyer-Keller would present a new cherry to destroy, whether by peeling, grating, drowning or some other brutal method.

Erin Lehua Brown’s piece, “In Effect, A Tragedy,” set to music by Phillip Glass, was a choreographic portrayal of how the media depicts disaster. Brown, a U modern dance graduate and member of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, notably repeated certain sections of the piece to represent how we see tragedy “backwards?and then full-on forwards.” Brown used blackouts at various intervals to leave the audience literally in the dark, since “you never get the full story,” Brown said. The piece was successful not in that the “audience (picked) up on that story,” she said, but in that her dancers artfully left viewers with similar feelings to such a situation.

Ruth Morris, also a U modern dance graduate, used this opportunity to further develop the humorous yet biting piece, “Events That Occur In a Life,” which she choreographed for her senior concert at the U last spring. Restaged and modified for modern dance students Josh Anderson, Kat Kubichek, Laurel Lakey and U modern dance graduate Juan Aldape, the piece was a compilation of awkward stories that invoke viewers’ own less-glorious moments as well as more serious cultural issues.

Since the piece’s debut in April, Morris has added longer transitions and another story for the audience to focus more on “how a simple story can bring up so many important issues, like religion, racism or class.” Although the new transitions did seem to drag at times, they put more emphasis on the concept of story, and the creative choreography and complete engagement of the performers kept the audience enthusiastic.

For more information on Dance Theatre Coalition or The Proving Ground Concert Series, visit