Production explores hope, angst

Dancers+from+the+co.da+dance+company+will+be+performing+%E2%80%9CCause+A+Decision%E2%80%9D+at+the+Sugar+Space+Studio+for+the+Arts.+Photo+courtesy+of+co.da+Dance+Company.

Dancers from the co.da dance company will be performing “Cause A Decision” at the Sugar Space Studio for the Arts. Photo courtesy of co.da Dance Company.

Dancers from the co.da dance company will be performing “Cause A Decision” at the Sugar Space Studio for the Arts. Photo courtesy of co.da Dance Company.
Dancers from the co.da dance company will be performing “Cause A Decision” at the Sugar Space Studio for the Arts. Photo courtesy of co.da Dance Company.
Self potential rises from the depth and range of human emotions. This idea became the theme of “Cause A Decision,” put on by the co.da dance company last weekend at Sugar Space Studio for the Arts.
Part of Sugar Space’s mission statement is to display mediums not found in the art gallery world. Dance is one such art form.
“I saw that dance companies who were kind of up-and-coming were performing in school recital halls or churches,” said Brittany Reese, Sugar Space’s owner and artistic director. “Which is all fine, but it isn’t really an art-centered space.”
“Cause A Decision’s” theme of self potential is the backbone of co.da. With that said, this artistic outlet of Sugar Space operates on a different level. Deciding to not hire a designated artistic director, the dance company highlights the talents of each member. Without a central hierarchy, dancers are able to achieve higher levels of creativity.
Wanting to reach its full artistic potential, the company reaches out to guest choreographers.
“We decided to pick someone local,” Reese said about the decision to choose Eric Handman, an assistant professor of modern dance at the U, as a guest choreographer. “I think that he is very well-known within the university setting, but I don’t know that people outside of the U have seen his work much.”
Handman has his own method of designing dance productions.
“I don’t work from inspiration at all,” Handman said. “I almost always go into a rehearsal with nothing planned. The direction of the piece emerges over time.”
Because of co.da’s open policy of self expression, Handman’s method of choreography worked well with Sugar Space’s dancers. He said they were open and present during the creative process for “Cause A Decision.”
Handman’s collaboration with the dancers opened with a slideshow. After the Powerpoint, “Unfinished” — a piece which explores the feelings of hope and angst — shaped the rest of the performance.
Then, the production split in two parts. The first portion was rather erratic and created a feeling of tension. With high emotions, it represented the emotion of angst depicted in the opening sequence.
Performances after intermission were stunning. One piece was the ethereal “Sum Continuum.”
“There are three deaths. First when your body ceases to exist, second when your body is exhumed to the grave and third, at some point in the future, when your name is no longer spoken,” said the performer heralding the beginning of the “Sum Continuum.” The dance highlighted the celebration of the everyday acts that represent humanity.
For the finale, Handman’s improvisational style came to a head in the performance of “Phantom Limb.” “One of the great things were some new movement ideas, or some new ways of thinking about movement that I can take with me as I move into my next creative process,” Handman said.
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