Saturday, May 25, 2024

Dance Review: dre.diohead at LPAC

Andrew Palermo and Taye Diggs, Photography by Topher Cox Dre.Dance’s dre.diohead at the LPAC Mainstage Theater on April 30 tells their movement story candidly, ferociously and with a clarity only highly attuned artists possess.  In owning their style of movement so completely, each piece resonates as dance in the same way a McDonald’s sign resonates as fast food.  While dance and fast food don’t usually find themselves in the same sentence, this speaks to the raw quality emulates.  Set to a soundscape of Radiohead music, the company pumps the audience full of buoyant and volatile energy through an invisible IV.  Dre.Dance is the creation of childhood friends Andrew Palermo and Taye Diggs.  Palermo reigns as the artistic director and choreographer with Diggs contributing additional choreography.  

Become a Member.  Join iDANZ Today! Lights come up on eight dancers in leotards and shorts – looking ready for class but standing so attentively everyone in the room knows it’s time to shut up.  This gestural phrase echoes so mechanically in unison each dancer seems to have been shocked by the same energy force.  Their beautiful lines reach my seat instantaneously sending me into a deeper focus.  Quickly the phrase unravels into duets and trios and these manipulations unveil the strength a gesture can exude when paired with thoughtful accents. 

After this first piece the program features each dancer through a duet or trio astutely acknowledging and highlighting the strengths that make this unit earth-shatteringly beautiful as a whole.    Set within the limits of a city block, the piece works to showcase the differences between their public lives on this shared street and their private ones behind closed doors. 

Tommy ScrivensThis struggle or inner turmoil are best illuminated through the pieces set to "15 Step," a full company piece and "The Gloaming," a solo performed by Tommy Scrivens.

"15 Step" proves that is never as good as when the members unite together.  While all prior pieces are rife with technique and soul, all the stops come out with aerial work, a conga line worth watching, and movement that travels briskly and perfectly from one side of the stage to the other in a game of epic movement telephone.  Members of seem to feel each others pulse and spend the entire evening breathing from the same source and exalting it with breathtaking movement.  Working both together and apart with sprinkled solos, this piece reveals that the company is as in tune with one another as they are with themselves individually.

In "The Gloaming," Scrivens travels within a diagonal pool of light across the stage and never strays.  While his movement path is limited to this light, he seems to live the reverse of the saying ‘live for the light at the end of the tunnel.’  This light ends at the edge of the stage, and he combatively travels towards it as though the tunnel is just beyond it and he’s headed there no matter what.  With this limited directional passage, Scrivens manages to send surprise after surprise into the audience as he levitates towards the ceiling or dives under himself when you thought he would move forward.  Though dre.diohead in general is low on the technical spectrum, the lights flood the stage with green as the song and performance hit a major change and Scrivens leaps back towards the beginning of the light. 

This timing speaks to the timing and spatial orientation of all of the pieces and all of the company members. navigates a volatile spectrum while still holding control over both the emotional and visceral actions of the company. To provide an alternative correlation from fast food:  if were a drink they would be whiskey on the rocks.  No twists or garnishes or anything to subdue their flavor – just raw unadulterated dance so strong it barely needs a space to contain it.  

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Official Dance Review by: Eileen Elizabeth
Performance: dre.diohead
Venue: LPAC
Show Date: April 30, 2010

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