Mixture of dance and science

On Saturday, March 3rd I had the opportunity to attend Armitage Gone! Dance: Three Theories at the Byham Theater. The Pittsburgh Dance Council presented this one night only show and it was breathtaking. I have always considered dancers to be the most supreme of all athletes and this show proved why.

Now like most dance shows in today's time, this performance was not for the average attendee. A prior knowledge of dance in general as well as an appreciation of the cultural of the dance world and how it is changing would be ideal to have before attending a show on this level. This certainly was not a recital-goer's cup of tea. The performance was based off of the pillars of 20th Century theoretical physics - Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and the String Theory and the dance movement was derived from basic scientific principles which showed three different dance styles that reflected the fundamental nature of the universe. The program for the performance said, "the ultimate purpose of the dance is to create beautiful and symbolically meaningful movement that quickens our sense of the world." Which I think the performance did because Karole Armitage choreographed smart and beautifully.

Outside of the dance itself, I loved that there was such variety among the dancer's appearances. Only two of them looked slightly similar to each other. But it was beautiful to see men and women of different races, height, weight, hair color and facial features; each one had such a striking look compared to the next, but they all flowed together seamlessly through the dance. Which reminded me of the "many parts, one body" Bible story. I also loved the simplicity of their costumes. For the first third of the dance everyone started in simple black shorts and black bra-tops for the women and then slowly throughout the next third of the show, they each changed into white shorts for the men and white leotards for the women, which they all finished the final third in. I love when the costume is not distracting and these were perfect. But more than anything, I loved that not a single dancer looked like the stereotypical stick skinny ballerina. Each one of them had obviously strong and beautiful bodies for their height, they were all obviously healthy and had sculpted (athletic) bodies.

Masayo Yamaguchi with Marlon Taylor-Wiles.
Although every dancer was fabulous at their parts and worked cohesively as a troupe, Marlon Taylor-Wiles stole the show in my eyes. Each time he came on stage my eyes were drawn to him because he was so excellent with each movement. I also enjoyed that Karole Armitage choreographed couples in a way that the men were able to shine just as much, if not more, in some areas than their female counterparts, which I haven't seen a lot of since so many people  believe the male dancers are there for support of the females only. I liked that, that stereotype was broken too and Marlon Taylor-Wiles, along with the other men, were able to be focused on more than a typical male in a dance would be, and they were that way throughout the entire performance. Overall, I liked that this dance, showed off the bare-bones of dancing (so to speak) by the simple costumes, strong dancers and obvious technique but I loved that it broke free of the typical or traditional and gave the audience a show that was not only beautiful, but timeless.

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