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Wylliams / Henry Danse Theatre

http://www.wylliams-henry.com

Fall Concert - September 14, 15 and 16 at 8 pm in White Recital Hall (UMKC) - Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $24, $18 and $15 (Student and Seniors) For more information and tickets call (816) 235-6222
Photos from dress on the 13th of September 2006

15th Anniversary Concert for WHDT

This was the 15th anniversary for Wylliams/Henry and the pieces were chosen to showcase the company's range over those years as well as its habit of looking for new material for the repertoire. In the latter case "Games" by Don McKayle, first performed in 1951, entered the Wylliams/Henry repertoire with this concert.

I shot video all three nights from the rear of the hall and was able to observer that White Recital Hall was packed nearly full all three nights. Even on Friday, when WHDT performed opposite the KC premiere of "Kansas City Orfeo," brought in by the Harriman Series downtown at the Lyric, the hall was only a little less than full. On all nights the crowd filled up late, meaning that I didn't see any real numbers until about 15-minutes before show time.

Symbolic Logic II

The original Symbolic Logic premiered in 1999 and was reprised not long after that with Symbolic Logic II. Like the math/logic courses (symbolic logic I and symbolic logic II), this dance uses patterns of dancers moving within and around a circle on the floor. (Here the circle is made of pieces of white paper lit from the top with a special masked to illuminate just the circle.) The dancers' white leotards, each with a variously colored round chakra dot on the backside) and the white circle against the black background create a striking contrast on stage.

This is a fusion of art and math and social commentary. In math the theorems about the breadth and limits of logic are considered the height of intellectually exquisite beauty. Symbolic logic (formerly called math logic) uses the modern symbls of abstract algebra to represent ancient Aristotolean logic. For those groaning at the idea of math you may merely consider the relationship patterns in the work - and here we can speculate on the influence of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, in whose company Sean Curran danced.

Or just the merging of Indian, English and Gaellic in the work of Sheila Chandra, English raised, South-Indian born who finds tonal fascination in Indian music, English folk songs and Irish dirges.

In any case this is a mesmerizing, meditative piece which weaves modern/balletic movement with Indian classical dance postures. The math oriented can see set theory and proofs on stage. The fusion oriented can see the interworking of cultures. The Curran/Jones/Zane related set can see the intermingling of persons, relationships and eventually social activism to act against the scourges of humanity, such as AIDs. For all its abstract, intellectual beauty Symbolic Logic II pulls us into the patterns of humanity.

Choreography: Sean Curran (http://www.seancurrancompany.com/)
Music: Sheila Chandra (http://www.sheilachandra.com/)
Costume Design: Mark Randall
Dancers: Karah Abiog, Deeanna Hiett, Katie Jenkins, Jennifer Medina, Christina Mowrey, Joseph Pilgram, Regka Sakati, Jerome Stigler, Paula Weber, Rodni Williams, Dion Wilson
Links: DanceArt.com Interview with Curran, Dance Insider Review from 2000, 1999 Village Voice Review, Wikipedia article about symblic logic (nice explanation)

 

Ritual

"Ritual" is one of those pieces which almost always gets standing applause. It is a two person dance which allows the entire attention to be on those two performers. That extra concentration adds to the "tour de force" character of this merger of athleticism and dance ability. It seems as much a display of technical ability as it does the sheer beauty of form combined with the intensity of the relationship between the dancers as a unit.

Choreography: Amber Perkins (http://www.apsarts.com/)
Music: Arvo Part
Costume Design: Amber Perkins
Dancers: DeeAnna Hiett and Dion Wilson

 

Esperando en Silencio

Inspired by the mothers of the disappeared in Argentina. The mothers who stood in the Plaza de Mayo. This is a particularly rich work which really pulls at your emotions. The costumes' flowing , swirling motions and monotone colors add a lushness to the overall movements which counterpoints the pain and courage of these mothers.

At intervals the mother's children run across the stage pursued by unseen forces and later a lone figure holding a child in his arms moves across the stage, through the mothers, as a ghost or an anguished imagining or a montage of separate suffering or all. They mourne their missing, who are never to return.

Choreography: Mary Pat Henry (http://www.wylliams-henry.com)
Music: South American Musicians - Utaki
Costume Design: Judy Pfeifer
Costume Construction: Judy Pfeifer and Mary Pat Henry
Dancers: Karah Abiog, Deeanna Hiett, Jennifer Medina, Rebka Sakati, Paula Weber - - Joseph Pilgram, Jerome Stigler, Dion Wilson - - (children) Madeleine Rafael, Juliette Rafael

 

Games

Choreographer: Don McKayle was be in attendance for Saturday's performance. Of course he received a standing ovation, but, I think, more telling about Don McKayle was that both the dancers in the production and the dancers at UMKC who had a master class with him all came by for hugs, a tidbit or more of conversation, buddy shots and autographs. You could easily be forgiven for thinking they had all known each other for years (a few had).

You could also see that warmth between McKayle and students during the UMKC master class we visited. You can see more pictures of him with the class and read an interview by Nicole English with a description of that class.
Bio on PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/freetodance/biographies/mckayle.html
Bio at Univ. Cal. Irvine, Dance Dept.: http://dance.arts.uci.edu/dfacMcKayle.html

Games Premiered May 1951 at Hunter Playhouse, NY, NY.

Music: Traditional Children's Songs and Chants
Original Costume Design: Remy Charlip
Original Set Design: Paul Bertelsen
Original Lighting Design: Pamela Judson Styles
Dancers: Karah Abiog, Matthew Carney, Deeanna Hiett, Katie Jenkins, Joseph Pilgram, Jerome Stiglar, Dion Wilson
Singers: Christina Burton and Rodni Williams

 

Rippling Souls

Choreography: Vincent Brosseau (bio UWyo) (photo at UNev)
Music: Kodo Drummers
Costume Design: Vincent Brosseau
Costume Construction: Lyn Clark
Dancers: Anthony DeCarlis, Katie Jenkins, Christina Mowrey, Joseph Pilgram

 

Church of Nations

Church of Nations slaps us in the face for allowing our churches to sponsor wars. We begin with a stage populated by empty chairs, save one, with a dancer in clerical garb (Matt Carney). As he stands to leave he is moved off the set by first one then another dancer, each in clerical garb, taking all the other chairs and leaving vacant the original chair. These are the clerics who become the bandwagon beating the drums for war.

Choreography: Kevin Iega Jeff (http://www.deeplyrootedproductions.org/)
(bio: http://www.deeplyrootedproductions.org/main/bio.php?bid=3)
Music: Ennio Morricone and The Art of Noise
Costume Design: Denice Naeemah Jeff
Dancers: Karah Abiog, Deeanna Hiett, Katie Jenkins, Jennifer Medina, Christina Mowrey, Joseph Pilgram, Jerome Stiglar, Paula Weber, Rodni Williams, Dion Wilson

 




Unless otherwise noted photos and copyright 2017 Mike Strong KCDance.Com and Mike Strong Photo Gallery and CV Site - Email This Page
Wylliams/Henry links on this site
To their website - www.wylliams-henry.org

Specific Pieces

Otis Redding
Angelitos Negros

New Dance Partners JCCC
Sept 2015
Sept 2014

Concerts

2016 September
2016 June
2015 September Cyprus Ave
2015 May
2014 September
2014 May
2013 September
2012 September
Back On Cyprus Avenue - 22 Oct 2011
2011 Fall
2011 May
Nelson
24, 25 Sept 2010 - On Cyprus Avenue

3 Sept 2010 Crossroads
2010 May
2010 March
2009 September
2009 May
2008 September
2008 May
2007 September
2006 September
2006 May
2005 September
2005 May



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