CONSequence, by Grace Gallagher, was rooted in passion and herculean technique. Gallagher’s choreographic thumbprint seamlessly integrates urban, jazz, and modern dance styles into a powerful, hard-hitting, and successfully awkward movement vocabulary.
The most enticing element of this piece was the androgynous nature of the performers. The traditional expectation in Phoenix dance choreography is for the women to integrate their spines and show off their leg extensions while the men have clumsy feet, stiff backs, and bent knees. However, in CONSequence all of the performers were equally matched in ferocity, commitment, breadth, and technical ability. The dancers came across as superheroes because of Gallagher’s ability to accentuate the strengths of her dancers, and to cover their weaknesses. It could also be that Gallagher selected a cast of super-humans without weaknesses.
Fortunately, the dancers presented more than just abled bodies. Jose Soto, for example, is known through out the valley for his athleticism and technique. Sitting in the front row my head would have been chopped off several times by Jose if he did not have supernatural height and flexibility during his leaps. However, in this performance, his most striking moment was the shaking of his fingertips as he stood still and breathed. The commitment to performance was present in every dancer through out the 30-minute piece. No joint or breath was neglected in this show. The cast had such a strong sense of cohesion, and remained consistently aware of their relationship to one another and the audience during the entire piece.
CONSequence originally premiered at MonOrchid Gallery during May’s First Friday Artwalk. This piece did a great service to the Phoenix dance scene by exposing 700 art-walkers to the challenge and complexity of contemporary dance. It is refreshing to see this group of dancers pushing the expectations for contemporary dance in Phoenix. I can only predict great things from these young choreographers in the future as they continue to grow and distinguish their unique choreographic styles.
Reviewed by Julie Akerly
June 6, 8pm Show