Addison — Last September, Bridget L. Moore announced her new company B. Moore Dance. After a year of festival performances, workshops, showcases, and other teasers, the company presented their inaugural concert 3D Vision at the Addison Theatre Centre last weekend. Performing the evening-length work NISSI, they’ve proved themselves as an electrifying new dimension to the North Texas dance scene.
As the name of the concert implies, the evening contained multiple layers with much to chew on and enjoy. Structured in three sections (titled Dimension I, II, and III) with short intermissions between, Moore’s work revealed the journey of struggle, contemplation, uncertainty, community, and purpose. The word nissi comes from the Hebrew language, meaning “banner,” or in other uses, “lifted up.” In the Judeo-Christian tradition, it’s used as a name for God, signifying protection and overcoming. As a symbol, a banner is a declaration of what unites and what perseveres.
The first act was the longest, as it had much to establish in tone and context. Silence first, then clock chimes were the backdrop for Xavier Santafield’s solo featuring slow gestures, deep pliés, and a suspended center split. More dancers entered with open palms that transformed into twirling fingers and calm but pensive expressions. They began a gestural phrase that repeated with various qualities throughout the work, with fingers pulling an invisible string, sketching an unknown picture in the air, and gathering something in the air.
Middle Eastern sounds mixed with Philip Glass and electronic beats maintained a mysterious yet vibrant tone throughout the evening. Touch revealed connection, a simple walking around the stage exhibited awareness of surroundings, and the dancers added more layers to the mood and their characters. Some were frantic, while others were more contemplative. Throughout, small ensemble, duet, and solo parts mixed with strong unison, they illustrated the common journey we all find ourselves on, approached and interpreted differently.
The second act examined more of that community through continued struggle and searching, and the third act concluded with a greater ownership and confidence among the circumstances. Equal parts catwalk and choreography, the final dimension was cathartic and primal, with everyone (including the audience) out of breath at the end.
Moore’s vocabulary and dynamics are truly something to behold, and her dancers displayed an exceptional commitment to all aspects of the choreography. They handily maneuvered the structured lines and precise transitions of classical ballet and modern, yet the earthy Afro-modern and assertive qualities of hip-hop looked just as natural. Since a strong focus was gesture, hands weren’t just an extension of the arms and core, but rather its own expressive element.
For a new company, Moore has assembled a stellar lineup of talent, and each dancer got a chance to shine, regardless of their standing in the company. Remarkable moments, such as Christian Burse’s adagio, Brittney Myers’ lines, and Anthony Wade’s calm groundedness, drew equal attention as Caeli Blake’s piercing gaze and Kaleigh Eidson’s fierce turns. Lindzay Duplessis’ thrilling duet with Santafield and Aminah Maddox’s earthy groove shone just as bright as Hailey Harding’s captivating transitions, Natalie Newman’s beautiful attitude turns, and India Maynor’s precision.
A vital dimension to Moore’s repertoire since her North Texas entrance has been costume design by Fernando Hernandez. While design and construction are integral parts of most dance creations, this dynamic duo takes it to the next level. The intimate space of the theater revealed extremely well-constructed attire and intricate attention to detail in texture and line. In the first two sections, Hernandez used floral patterns for the various types of fabrics (including lace and satin). White for Dimension I stood in nice contrast to the red and black of Dimension II. All dancers wore skin-toned ballet shoes throughout, allowing for smooth transitions and a clean visual to the line of the leg.
It was Hernandez’s creations for Dimension III, however, that not only jumped out but signified more than just the energy for the work’s invigorating finale. The costume design for the previously performed Uncharted Territory grew more elaborate and sensational, as Hernandez added some of the floral patterns from the previous sections, contrasting stripes, and other mixed media with the white boning and black cutouts that had long been associated with the piece.
A noticeable change in the title coincided with this evolution, as one of the segments in this act was called “Charted Territory.” The ups and downs of Moore’s career has obviously only strengthened her optimism and purpose, and the concert shouted this fact loud and clear. In acknowledging our innate power to use the circumstances of life to make positive change, we grow stronger through the explorations of life and our reliance on community. From the opening statements to the curtain call, this was an evening of gratitude and a call to action.