ARC Dance Company
ARC Studios
Seattle, WA

October 13, 2017
ARC’s Autumn 47 Program:
Que, Recurring, A Short Bouree, The End, About That Glass, Something Fun, Black and White

Dean Speer

One theme that presented itself during ARC Dance’s Autumn 47 show, although perhaps unplanned, was dance that circled and moved in round, sometimes weaving, patterns, from Kabby Mitchell’s 1999 Que to the concluding 2001 Black and White by Wade Madsen.

ARC Dance Company dancers (l-r) Victoria Jahn and Madeline Bay in Kabby Mitchell's "Que" Photo by ARC Dance Company

ARC Dance Company dancers
(l-r) Victoria Jahn and Madeline Bay
in Kabby Mitchell’s “Que”
Photo by ARC Dance Company

I also found the costume color palettes interesting: all black for Que; all white for Gerard Theoret’s Recurring; colorful blues and shades of red for The End with Alex Ketley’s “chair” piece; light autumnal green in the world premiere of David Fernandez’s About That Glass; and pretty much what the title infers for Madsen’s sardonic and sly piece that uses The Beatles.

Que alternates and infuses the vocabularies of ballet, jazz, a bit of funk, en pointe use and reference to Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk. This was a great opening piece to introduce what ARC Dance artists can do. Great technical ease, phrasing and interpretation, and strong commitment to each of their assignments. In contrast, Recurring was lyrical, moderate in its pace, and a poetically pleasant moving picture.

ARC Dance Company dancers Alice Cao and Ethan Sweitzer-Gaslin in Gérard Théorêt's "Recurring" Photo by ARC Dance Company

ARC Dance Company dancers
Alice Cao and Ethan Sweitzer-Gaslin
in Gérard Théorêt’s “Recurring”
Photo by ARC Dance Company

Kirk Midtskog’s A Short Bouree to a Bach bouree was a classy and classical tour-de-force for Da’Von Doane. Doane is new to ARC and appears courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem. His professional background showed in each movement etched and gesture told. He is a dancer equally of power and grace.

Also a world premiere, The End had the dancers sitting in chairs scattered around the perimeter of the performance space observing each other, then getting up and dancing — sometimes as a solo or in small groupings. The End impressed me as urban and urbane; a contemporary impressionist-era styled work.

ARC Dance Company dancers (l-r) Graham Gobeille, Victoria Jahn, and Diana Crowder in Alex Ketley's "The-End" Photo by.ARC Dance Company

ARC Dance Company dancers
(l-r) Graham Gobeille,
Victoria Jahn,
and Diana Crowder
in Alex Ketley’s “The-End”
Photo by.ARC Dance Company

About That Glass by David Fernandez returned the program to a lyric feel and mood. I particularly enjoyed the partnerings and pairings.
Da’Van Doane returned for Marie Chong’s 2010 Something Fun, set to The Beatles Blackbird, still showcasing his amazing dancing but also allowing him to smile and show the lighter side of theatrical dancing, helping to balance the offerings.

Wade Madsen has a dedicated cult following for his sardonic and sly dances that often poke gentle fun at both former and current fads and trends. His 2001 Black and White did just that — with the dancers wearing wigs, bell-bottom pants, fishnet tights and other outre fads of the ’60s. In this dance, like many of the others, the dancers circled, line-danced, and serpentined throughout the stage area, much to the bemusement of the audience.

ARC Dance Company dancers (l-r) Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin, Stephanie Rae Williams, Daniel Ojeda, Diana Crowder, Graham Gobeille, and Victoria Jahn in Alex-Ketley's "The-End" Photo by ARC Dance Company

ARC Dance Company dancers (l-r)
Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin,
Stephanie Rae Williams,
Daniel Ojeda, Diana Crowder,
Graham Gobeille, and Victoria Jahn
in Alex-Ketley’s “The-End”
Photo by ARC Dance Company

Artistic Director Marie Chong has assembled a very high level cadre of dancers, many of whom return year after year, much to my delight. A special shout-out to Alice Cao, whom I first noticed as an outstanding Professional Division student at Pacific Northwest Ballet; Victoria Jahn who can do anything; Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin’s mercurial dancing; and Stephanie Rae Williams and her deep artistry, also in her first season with ARC and appearing courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem.

As I’ve mentioned to anyone within shouting distance, the Seattle area is home to many dancers who, while not with PNB, find traction with other outlets for their talents. ARC Dance is one of them, for which we can be grateful. Without these employment opportunities, I’d worry that we’d lose too many dancers for various reasons. These smaller groups — ARC Dance, Ballet Bellevue, Whim W’him, among others, are critical to our artistic community and deserve our support and high praise. Bravo!