Arts & Entertainment
Santa Barbara Independent
D A N C E
WORK IT OUT
Between the Ages, a performance by the Daughter of Zion Dance Company
(Zion Dance Company)
At the Marjorie Luke Theater, Saturday, October 2.
Reviewed by Felicia M. Tomasko
The boundary between the stage and the audience is often described as the fourth wall in theater; it is an invisible barrier of separation. And it is not only this barrier that creates distance – the performers become absorbed within their characters, hiding behind a persona. In Between the Ages, a sense of intimacy was created from the moment the people walked into the theater, as the dancers, wearing sweats and moving to music, began the show by warming up on stage. Watching their process of stretching, vocalizing, bending, twisting, and working in pairs announced that this evening would be far from ordinary.
“Sometimes you have to just trust the process,” director Rina van de Kamp announced as she introduced the first piece. Their process included structured improvisation and aerial dance, and involved various types of apparatus: double trapeze, slings, ropes, and climbing harnesses, all of which freed dancers form the usual confines of gravity.
The dancers’ vulnerability continued; they also stripped off the mask of character to portray themselves at a turning point in their lives. As van de Kamp announced, these transitional junctures are sometimes small moments, vital and precious, that we almost overlook.
These moments were performed with a poignancy and emotive force that brought some audience members to tears. Ken Gilbert and E. Bonnie Lewis spoke and danced the story of their meeting, courtship, and marriage, partnering in a swinging sling. Gilbert and Lewis’ expressive dance provided an exquisite visual metaphor for the collaboration of marriage.
The most visually stunning piece was “Friendship,” performed by van de Kamp and Nicole Helton. They were dressed in red and swung on the double trapeze,(rope and handles) in a compelling dance of companionship.
Rina van de Kamp closed the show with “Health,” the story of her stroke at age 26 and subsequent recovery. Beginning in a transparent cage of metal bars, with a climbing harness attaching her to a rope, she lay supine in mid air. Then she sinuously writhed in the cage before bursting free. Van de Kamp and the other members of Zion presented themselves with grace and beauty, inviting the audience into their dreams and memories, flying above the stage and into the air.