By Ariana Johnson
On Friday, Sept. 10, the Palace Theater hosted their eighth-annual dance showcase. The showcase was free to the public and featured nine different dance companies: the Dancing Wheels Company, Dance/Theater Collective, Travesty Dance Corp, Ohio Dance Theater, Morrison Dance, Inlet Dance Theater, Shri Kalaa Mandir and Verb Ballets. According to Linda Jackson, who is in charge of dance education at the Palace Theater, there were 17 dance companies that applied for the performance, then a selection panel narrowed those down to the nine that performed on Friday based on "quality and diversity."
"Diverse" is definitely the word for the performances that night. Each dance company broke the stereotype that all dancers are tall and model-thin. This was evident in the night's very first sequence called "Far East of the Blues." The piece had 1950's-themed music and dancing. There were 11 dancers total, with two dancers in wheel chairs dancing just as gracefully as the others.
Another sequence shown was "The Sight of the Surface." The exact opposite of "Far East of the Blues" with its dark and ominous overtones and Middle Eastern-style of music, "Surface" also had shorter dancers, further going against the stereotype that all dancers must be tall. It was a very dramatic, and yet still, a simple sequence reminiscent of a yoga exercise.
The third sequence of the night entitled " Lachen und Weinen"(German for laughing and crying) seemed to really amuse the audience. It not only broke the stereotype that dance is just for girls, but dance that apparel is only for girls too. While pianist Melissa Fucci accompanied vocalist Rose Maier, two male dancers, Richard Brandon Hall and Sabatino A. Verlezza, performed a beautiful interpretive dance wearing long skirts and leotards.
A sequence called "Snow" proved to be the top performance of the night. "Snow" was very dramatic and featured a modern style of dance in which all six of the dancers where wearing white leotards and covered with what seemed to be white glitter paint. The dance was anything but typical featuring no pirouettes or plies, port de bras, or arabesques. Instead, the dancers seemed to be moving statues that would pause into beautiful and intriguing sculptures of art that truly awed every member of the audience.
There was also a special performance by choreographer Sara Whale entitled "In Retrospect" which was dedicated to the choreographer's late dance teacher Anne Waugh Allen.
The show ended with a dance sequence called "electricity" which was an excerpt from the Tony Award-winning production Billy Elliot. It was performed by 13-year-old dancer Giuseppe Bonsillo who plays the title character in the actual stage production.
The eighth annual dance showcase at the Palace Theater was definitely something that showed what the performing arts community is capable of in Cleveland.