Human Nature: too smart for it’s own good?

Review: Dis-Guise by Evolving Doors Dance
By Hallie Bauernschmidt

Is human nature sometimes too smart for its own good? The ability to present oneself in a particular manner can confuse inherent instincts and steer individuals away from their core identities. “What version of your self comes alive in a given circumstance?”, this question is explored, revealing the variety of guises within each being, through a fusion of contemporary modern dance, text, and mixed media which is the basis of Evolving Doors Dance’s evening length work “Dis-Guise” happening at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder.
Upon entering the intimate space of the East Theater, performance patrons are ushered on stage amongst media images and live moving bodies reminding us that we are all on display and products of our external and internal influences. The integrated moment passes and viewers settle into a more traditional performance perspective, with the infamous fourth wall now dissipated. The audience is no longer watching, but an active part of the next seventy five minutes.
An individual dancer, Danielle Hendricks, emerges from the beginning ensemble. Her movement is at the whim of the tension and energy flowing through the ropes that are attached to her core and grasped by fellow dancers and selected audience members. An intuitive, strong and graceful mover, Hendricks is able to read and play with the dynamics coming from the ties. The solo suggests how easy it is to be swayed from one way of being to another.
As the work continues the well incorporated transitions set the ambiance for upcoming sections allowing the audience to digest the intense subject matter and fearless choices that are made by Evolving Doors Dance. Ying Zhu is a perfect example of fearlessness, at one point being bound and violently restrained on stage. She then allows herself to be blindfolded and gagged while executing an exhilarating trio with two other dancers who appear to be the bully of collective conscience.
The majority of the work’s material is intense which feels slightly overwhelming in the small venue. EDD Artistic Directors Angie Simmons and Amy Shelly balance the evening with playfully poignant duets inserted between deep moments of personal reflection. The first duet is performed by Simmons and Shelly. It highlights their individual talents as well as what they have absorbed from each other’s personal disciplines. Simmons and Hendricks are showcased in a second duet which flows easy and reminds you that the support of friendship is essential in life. The morphing atmospheres are complimented by the experience and knowledge of lighting designer Lacy Erb.
The work of Evolving Doors Dance is edgy and politically charged. Combining the body and media as a vehicle, EDD exposes the cracks and inequalities in society. They are a revolutionary company using art as their weapon.
Dis-Guise is performing at the Dairy Center for the Arts East Theater, October 27th and 28th at 7:30. For tickets visit http://www.thedairy.org or call 888-512-7469.

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