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Michelle Dorrance


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This is the tap dancer who won a MacArthur last year, and she deserve every penny.  I saw her company this weekend in The Blues Project at the Moore Theater in Seattle.  I was one of the best dance experiences of my life.  If you get the chance to see this, grab it with both hands.

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Oh, go!  Especially if she's bringing the Blues Project.  I'm a tap fan, and love it when people bring the big sounds out, but so often we see the form as a place for individual virtuosity -- this has that aspect, but also is an incredible ensemble piece.   It's extraordinary!!

Edited by sandik
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I saw DorranceDance yesterday afternoon at Jacob's Pillow. The first piece, All Good Things Come to an End, had its world premiere this week and was a Pillow commission. It featured taped music by Artie Shaw and Fats Waller. It began with dancers in aisles wearing hazmat suits and gas masks, but once it got started, It had a bit of a silent movie vibe, with title cards introducing the premise, that civilization was destroyed and these are the remaining stories, and then the title cards were changed to announce the various sections (e.g., Cane and Abel, The Ugly Duckling, The Myth of Narcissus, The American Dream, etc.). There were a lot of props,  gimmicks, and costume changes, but the dancing was great, especially Michelle Dorrance and Josette Wiggan-Freud. I can't really explain what this was about, but for a bit of the flavor, artist Carolyn Newberger drew some sketches during one of the performances and they can be seen in this article: https://theberkshireedge.com/the-arc-of-life-as-told-in-tap-dorrance-dance-at-jacobs-pillow/

The second piece was a newly extended version of an earlier work, Myelination (referring to speeding up transmission of nerve impulses), which, in addition to the DorranceDance company, featured performances and choreography by two breakdancers, Ephrat Asherie and Matthew West, plus live music from Prawn til Dante with Aaron Marcellus. The music was good, except for one part where it was just very unpleasant loud noise to me (but this was thankfully brief). Drummer Warren Craft apparently trained at SAB and with ABT, and also danced some of the time. The dancers (both tap and breakdancing) were fantastic, with interesting interactions between the tap and breakdancers. Michelle Dorrance stands out as the best of the best for her personal style. 

The atmosphere was very different from a typical ballet performance--the audience was encouraged to shout out or clap whenever they particularly enjoyed something. By the end of the first piece, the entire audience was clapping along with the rhythm and it was even louder during the second piece, with everyone on their feet clapping  by the end. Really fun.  This performance and the one that she curated last year were definitely among the best performances I've seen at the Pillow. I'd see anything Michelle Dorrance does. She really is that good. 

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3 hours ago, sandik said:

Oh, lucky duck!  This sounds fabulous -- I'm so glad you had the chance to see it!  She's not scheduled to come to Seattle right now, but I'm hoping she'll perform somewhere close that I can see the new work.

 

I am a lucky duck! Hopefully she will come back to Seattle with a fabulous program so that you can be a lucky duck too. 

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She's been discussed as well on the Ballet Now thread but just wanted to say that, watching that, I found her to be so dynamic and with such great energy. I really just wanted to be in the room with her! I'd love to see one of her performances and will definitely watch out for the opportunity.

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A post-performance talk with Michelle Dorrance and the other dancers from All Good Things Must Come to an End  is now available from Jacob's pillow. It includes some footage from both parts of the performance. 

 

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