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Six Degrees Dance Company

New York City Debut

by Adele Harris

January 23 , 2009 -- Merce Cunningham Dance Studio, New York

The Six Degrees Dance Company made their New York City debut on January 23 and 24  at the prestigious Merce Cunningham Dance Studio.  It was the first time the company presented a full evening of dance, focused solely on the choreography of its two artistic directors, Misty Nelson and Cecly Placenti.  The evening’s performance included pieces of soulful dance interpretations using original music composed for the company and dance pieces which expressed slices of everyday life in dance form.

The 90-minute program consisted of seven pieces with one intermission.  The opening piece called “Tower of Strength” began the program with a configuration of bodies intertwined with one another that began to move like the inner workings of a Swiss clock.  Intrigued by the opening pose, the audience’s attention continued to be captured by the dancers’ seamless transitions from one difficult position to another.

Act I included a piece with original music composed by Craig Harris called “360.”  Using the theme of drug addiction, the dancers creatively expressed the pain suffered by the addict, the anguish of the family and the struggle of both to decide between the path of recovery and addiction.  Before intermission, there was a delightful change of pace with a youthful couple in a flirtatious dance of love called “Life Falls In.” It was followed by a piece composed by Chris Willets called “Ebb and Flow” where groups of two or three dancers clasp arms behind their backs invoking waves of the sea.  The rippling blue cloth across the back of the stage was an imaginative attraction.

Act II opened with an ingenious interpretation of an Irish folk dance with a modern dance twist.  Performed by a solo dancer, the piece captured the spirit of the old world with the steps of the new.  Act II also presented another piece of original music by Craig Harris called “Anum” which expressed a modern interpretation of the four seasons.  Beginning with ‘Winter,’ a male solo dancer dominated the stage, demonstrating nature’s power and strength.  Moving into ‘Spring,’ the dancers seemed to emerge from the stage floor like crocus from the earth, awaking to a new world. The piece then continued into ‘Summer,’ where a hot tango couple expressed the season’s passion and love, and ended with ‘Fall,’ where the dancers seemed to brew up a storm as the presence of winter steps in on the final notes. The evening ended on a playful note with another slice of life story through dance called “Crushed” where three young ladies seduce the same man only for each of them to be disappointed by him.

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