Monday, May 17, 2010

Moving Ethos: The Center Ring

The weekend performances of Moving Ethos' "The Center Ring" was not only moving in and of itself, but breathtakingly beautiful. Like poetry in motion. Featuring contemporary dances inspired by the circus photography of Frederick W. Glasier, the troupe brought the early days of the circus to life at the Historic Asolo Theatre.

Audiences were ushered into the program's circus-themed fair by ringmaster Rebecca Webster, who gave a short, poetic-like prologues for each work during the program from the side of the stage. Keeping in her role as ringmaster, she also watched the performances unfold with the audience - just like a real circus. She also provided rich vocals to some of the original music accompaniment, which added a special touch to the dance concert.

Each dance featured Glasier's photos projected on the wall as the troupe reenacted the black and white portraits, creating its own story based on the pictures. The first of these dance works was the four act "Side Show," which included a beautiful dance performed by Courtney Smith on a long rope attached to the ceiling like a trapeze. Smith showed grace and control while bringing elegance to the piece, inspired by Glasier's photo of a woman hanging on a rope from her teeth. Keely Sullivan Henry and Kelley Natella were enjoyable as they depicted the split personalities of a woman displaying her athletic side and feminine side.

Dazzling the audience was Kristen Bernier and Cassidy Samelian in their creative dance contortion act while Leah Verier-Dunn provided a lightness to the program as the girl with the colorful parasol.

Besides the contortion dance, Herd Instinct was another innovative highlight to the show. The piece featured the troupe dressed in gray representing a herd of elephants in performance mode at the circus. Dancers' "trunks" swayed side to side in full elephant fashion.

Along with the eye-catching Luminescence dance, followed by the trapeze dance duet of "Trust Me" was the comical yet subdued "Dare to Wear the Foolish Clown Face." The final dance depicted the different "faces" of clowns, so to speak or rather, how they act with or without the clown makeup.

Through "The Center Ring," Moving Ethos provided a vivid window into circus life using the elements of dance, storytelling, photos, vibrant costumes, lighting and an assortment of musical styles. The members of the troupe created their own circus world - one that's as equally captivating as the real thing.

If the troupe gets the opportunity to perform this enchanting program again, don't miss the opportunity to see art in motion.

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