Think you have a pretty good idea about what to expect at a contemporary dance show?
This weekend, local dance company 20Moons will be taking over the Powerhouse Science Center with its show “Connections,” – and they’ve got a few surprises up their sleeve.
“We’re really excited because this is all under the container of ‘contemporary dance,’ but it’s going to be a full spectrum of expression, which I think is really exciting,” said 20Moons co-artistic director Jessica Perino.
The company’s dancers are not taking the stage alone. “Connections” is a collaboration between the local company and other dancers, both from here and in the region – it’s a project that has been in the works for a while. And for the company, which started gathering in 2012, working with other dancers has been important.
“As artists who aren’t working in a large city, we have a tendency to connect with other artists in small towns or any other towns that surround us,” Perino said. “We’ve been sort of building this network over time with dancers in the Southwest. We’ve been talking for a few years about collaborating, and this is sort of a step in that journey.”
Featured in this weekend’s performances will be sisters Sasha and Sophia Chudacoff from Crested Butte; Dark Sky Aerial Arts from Flagstaff, Arizona, whose performers are bringing several aerial dance theater pieces; and longtime local dancer Suzy DiSanto, who is creating and performing a solo for the show.
And, Perino and Bartlett said, the venue is really cool.
“We’ve always wanted to do something at the Powerhouse. It’s such a cool space – and super-challenging. We’ve created our piece to take advantage of that,” said Anne Bartlett, 20Moons’ other co-artistic director. “We’re really excited to have some aerial things because the space has all that verticality that we really want to make use of.”
And if you’re unsure of exactly what is contemporary dance, think of it as a “melting pot,” Perino said.
“It’s a fusion of many dance styles – it’s just about what’s happening there in the studio in the moment,” she said.
Bartlett added that because contemporary dance is a fusion of styles, inspiration can come from just about anywhere – including other artforms.
“It’s gathering inspiration from lots of different sources – lots of different physical sources. Use of the body can be really acrobatic, it can be super-physical, it can be subtle, it can be very theatrical,” she said. “It does encompass a lot of possibilities, and it isn’t codified into one thing.”
In the case of this weekend’s “Connections,” it’s this idea of contemporary dance as an outlet for different types of expression while at the same time working under an umbrella of collaboration that’s important, Perino said.
“Part of our hope and intention for bringing people together, for bringing these companies to Durango, is to provide an opportunity for Durango to see the possibility of what contemporary dance can be,” she said. “It’s very exciting. There’s a lot of great quality dance happening all around us. I feel excited for people to experience it.”