Photo credit: Bill Hebert.

Founded in 1986, ANNE-MARIE MULGREW AND DANCERS COMPANY (AMM & DCO) has been one of the leading contemporary dance companies in Philadelphia.  In the home season concert “Celebrating 31”, Anne-Marie and her dancers showcased her take on the contemporary dance through two dance pieces and two video pieces (A Dance 4 Camera Project). Asya Zlatina’s choreography, Storm was also presented by a guest dancer, Ashley Searles, which is a part of Asya’s larger project for her 2017 Fringe Show.

After a short film that introduced the company and its creating process, a world premiere, One Minute Dance for Small Spaces questioned our recognition of time and space. Each of the sixteen segments was one minute long and danced inside a spotlight, which gave dancers limitations.  The young dancers looked as if they were midst of learning and experimenting their use of bodies and how to effectively convey their statements to the audiences. Still some of the solos were appealing and intriguing. Anne-Marie danced two solos. Both were tender and graceful in the movements, poetic and narrative at the same time, which felt the shortest one minute that left the long-lasting impressions.

Another premiere, Frances was another project that experiment a limitation of space. The piece was created as one of “A Dance 4 Camera Project” in collaboration with the video artist, Carmella Vassor-Johnson. At a narrow staircase that had wall on both sides, a female dancer crawled on the steps and pushed the walls. Only sounds that could be heard was squeak of the handrail and the dancer’s breathe.  While the walls created an oppression and a limitation sideways, the stairs and the dancer symbolized a mobility and an expanse.  It gave an awakening insight into how limitations and possibilities are recognized in life, and how a different angle of a video – our views – could provide another prospect on the circumstance.

The closing dance was titled The Next Chapter 2015. Its was a suit of four dances, “Lush”, “Insist”, “Relentless” and “It is”.  Among the six dancers who all managed the choreography overall, Jorge Rullan was outstanding with his expressive physicality and clear intention of his movements.

Unlike some dance performances where it is on the audiences to reach to the world of the dance to feel and understand what is narrated on the stage, AMM & DCO steps into our world by citing common interests and phenomenons that may occur in our daily lives.  Dance is, in fact, one of our most natural ways to communicate and express our thoughts.    

[Christ Church Neighborhood House Theater, 20 N. American Street] June 8-10, 2017;


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