Idaho Dance Theatre's Winter Show is a True Delight

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Also republished by DKOMA.
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A bunch of cute gals chase a guy to the left, screaming. The same bunch of fiesty women then chase a guy to the right, screaming and waving their arms. The guys dance, skillfully moving like Elvis in his prime. The gals dance, twisting and turning artfully, as if in a scene from Grease. The scene is tasteful, anachronistic, and warmly inviting. So began an evening of exciting, innovative choreography featuring the work of Carl Rowe and Marla Hansen, Co-Artistic Directors of the Idaho Dance Theatre and guest choreographer, Lauren Edson.

Idaho Dance Poster

It was a delighful opening to the IDT’s winter show, which I caught this weekend at Boise State University. The performance includes dance with poetry, music and film weaved through, as if it were a tapestry. The program demonstrates stunning virtuosity in works that effectively utilize the the considerable abilities of the dancers. Good dancers look best in good choreography, and Hansen and Rowe provide that. The show also relies on an underexposed music score by excellent composers. An artistic balance is wisely struck, and the audience is allowed to remain engaged since the myriad of profound and complex ideas presented are never taken past tolerance.

The first piece, “Love Hurts”, is built around love themes, punctuated by somewhat minimalist background stage art. The opening set, "Gone, Gone, Gone" - Teeny Bopper Love, featured dancers Gonzalo Valdez and Eric Glenn. The second scene, "Sister Rosetta Goes Before U"– Lost Love, is graced by the poise and authenticity of dancers Shantyl Betty, Elizabeth Henscheid, Sayoko Knode, Lia Mrazek, and Caitlin Stanley. The group achieves a cohesiveness that compliments the music and each individual dancer’s style, forming a holistic visual experience.

Two pieces, “Nothin” -Angry Love and Trampled Rose, by themselves are worth whatever you pay to see this show. In the first, we are treated with Yurek Hansen’s amazing dance abilities in movement choices that constantly ebb and flow with the music score. Hansen is at times totally still, at times en adagio. Then within a microsecond he explodes across the stage with exceptional movement choices and skill. Nothin-Angry Love, requires significant virtuosity and timing. IDT dancers Yurek Hansen, Elizabeth Henscheld, Sayoko Knode, and Lia Mrazek literally nailed it. Intensely kinetic, the work consists of non-stop energy with stunning duets and a compelling storyline.

The subsequent works, “Silent Past”, choreographed by guest Lauren Edson, and “How Things Are” choreographed by Carl Rowe contain the requisite level of development to maintain performace life. They feature wonderful music, diverse costumes, and unpredictable choreography. Timing is crisp and the variations are nuanced.

The IDT dancers owned the afternoon. Read more on the Idaho Dance Theater at Idahodancetheatre.org.