Dallas Dance Company gave an eclectic and entertaining performance Saturday night at the Granville Arts Center in Garland, with its ninth annual showcase Visual Outburst.
The two-part show was jam-packed with the latest commercial dance trends, including jazz fusion, funk, hip-hop and contemporary. While some of the two-to-three-minute numbers left us wanting more, others gave us a good punch in the gut.
One of these numbers was a contemporary solo choreographed and performed by DDC Executive Director Brandi Evans. The piece started with Evans deliberately removing her wedding ring and walking away in silence. When Adele’s “First Love” came on it was like watching a piece of ribbon unwinding from a maypole; continuous and effortless. Evans’ movements were very circular: a lot of turning, spiraling and rolling using all parts of the body. She has a knack for layering movement into music without oversaturating the piece.
Another memorable piece was Emulation with choreography by Ashley Armstrong and music by Philip Glass. Again, this group number played to the company’s stronger contemporary side. The performers seemed more confident with controlled leg extensions and arching movements than they did with the looseness of some of the hip-hop numbers. Armstrong also created some intricate weaving patterns and notable individual moments.
While some of the jazz funk and hip-hop pieces appeared somewhat dated, the company did bring something new to the table with Louder than Silence and the show’s final number Up! Louder than Silence, to “Drumming Song” by Florence + the Machine, really captured the dancers’ athleticism, strong jazz technique and fierce spirit.
Up! was a unique take on the 90s’ hit song “Jump Around” by House of Pain. Instead of putting together a cliché hip-hop piece, choreographer Carla Rudiger created a well-rounded modern-influenced piece. Dressed in black shorts and tight flannel shirts, the company performed a series of uniform linear and robotic movements, which amplified the heavy beats in the music.
Like the other numbers, Up! was a short piece, yet it had a beginning, a middle and an end, fading to black as the last three performers continued jumping in synch. It was also an effective way to end the performance, reminding the audience after 15 varied numbers that DDC has a voice and is at its best when its modern and contemporary traits are on display.
◊ Katie Dravenstott is a freelance writer and dance instructor in Dallas. Visit her blog at www.kddance.wordpress.com.