Cleveland Dance Fest Returns 11/8 and 11/9

Marquez Dance Project’s Reflections Between Two Worlds: A deconstruction of discord and harmony through several points of view (photo by Marquez Dance Project)

by Irene Honora

After three successful years, The Movement Project is at it again…the Cleveland Dance Fest is almost here, Tremonsters!

On Friday, November 8th, and Saturday, November 9th, at Pilgrim Church (2592 W. 14th St.), this 2-day festival will feature two evening performances of new works by Cleveland and visiting artists, an emerging works concert, a youth showcase, and a day of masterclasses for youth and professional dancers taught by participating Cleveland Dance Fest artists and companies.

I talked with a few of this years’ wonderful artists and really got a feel for their work. 

MVment, a female duo from Pittsburgh, is comprised of Maddison Manolis and Alison Vitale. Saturday, November 9th, during the Show 2 performance, they will perform their highly athletic work, Quick, recover. This piece is energized and full of intention, mixed with slow control. The slower sections are Tai-Chi-like in quality (Tai Chi inspired them in college): “Slippery Rock University has incredible faculty that always pushed us to find different ways to move,” Manolis said, “Specifically, our modern teacher, Teena Marie Cuter, had both of us focus on working in the realm of Tai-Chi-like movement during a specific semester.”

The pair will often each give each other a set of tasks, work separately, then meet to see how their ideas can mesh together. The result is the dynamic movement quality you see on stage. Feeding into this is Manolis and Vitale’s background in contact improvisation, which they find integral to their partnering: “Contact improvisation is a style that comes very naturally to both of us,” Manolis explained, “We love how organic the movement can flow through our bodies when they connect […] Overall, we are fascinated by the span of control two bodies can have together through balance, opposition, and low to high levels.”

At its core, the piece is an exploration of how both Manolis and Vitale identify themselves as dancers and as humans, and their choreographic processes make that possible. Manolis said, “We have spent a lot of time explaining to one another how we feel and how we fit in as dancers.” She added, “Together, we both identify as strong, independent female dancers. The presence of that model naturally comes to life on stage, due to the comfort we have knowing one another’s struggles, perseverance, and like-minded attitudes.”

Elyse Morckel, TMP veteran, has submitted something different this year. With the growth of the festival, a Youth Showcase has been added to the roster for the evening of Saturday, November 9th, and Morckel made sure her students at Dianna Durkin Dance Studio were taking part. “For this piece, we began with three large, extended phrases which I drew from to create more gestural sequences that I typically incorporate into my work,” Morckel explained. “Since we did not start the piece from any particular point […] it gave us more possibilities to determine where the work could go,” she said. “I think that the open-ended development process, along with having the dancers possess some agency over the movement […] made the cast feel more invested in the choreography.”

Jennifer Sandoval-Eccher, the choreographer behind Marquez Dance Project’s Reflections Between Two Worlds, looked at her process collaboratively as well, “I’m working with a group of intelligent movers who have contributed greatly to this piece–not only as movers but as critical thinkers,” Sandoval-Eccher said. “In rehearsals, we discuss the sections both physically and emotionally so that we can be as authentic as possible.” Finding time to really discuss the work is important to Sandoval-Eccher’s process so that her movers can contribute to the overarching goal of the piece.

On top of the discussion, the process also included a little improvisation, “[W]e incorporated improvisational techniques as a way to generate movement. We built a level of trust that allowed us to perform with a sense of vulnerability,” she explained. “These artists I worked with embraced this journey with so much conviction, I feel honored to share the stage with them.”

Reflections Between Two Worlds is the result of this collaborative effort. The dancers weave, push, and pull around each other (an embodiment of the theme on the dynamics between discord and harmony). Rather than take a path of reconciliation, however, Sandoval-Eccher pushed the two oppositional forces further. There is not reconciliation within the piece, according to Sandoval-Eccher: “The duality of discord and harmony is a continuous cycle, at least this is how we wanted to leave it.” This work will be performed Friday, November 8th, during our Show 1 performance.

Sandoval-Eccher is a returning artist to the Cleveland Dance Fest. In 2016, she was part of the first official Cleveland Dance Fest, which took place at The Breen Center in Ohio City. Sandoval-Eccher said, “Cleveland Dance Fest is a wonderful opportunity for local dance artists to connect and share their experiences through technique classes and performances. I was honored to be a part of the first year and feel the organization has kept with their structure of building an eclectic line up of dance artists.” She sees Cleveland Dance Fest plays an important role in connecting our local dance community to dance communities outside of Cleveland. “I feel the growth has been through the masterclasses and inviting artists outside of the Cleveland area,” Sandoval-Eccher said. “Although Cleveland does have a vibrant dance community I feel it’s important to build connections outside of your neighborhood.” 

Tremonsters, I hope you’re looking forward to seeing these artists and our full Cleveland Dance Fest 2019 lineup on November 8th and 9th–see you there!

Show 1: Kora Radella, Irene Honora, slowdanger, Kelly Hurlburt & Josh Hines, Wild She Dances, The Movement Project

Show 2: Gina Hoch-Stall, Emily Liptow, Elu Dance Company, Chloe Napoletano & Hana Newfeld, SeaBus Dance Company, Sarah Holmes Villanueva Dance, The Movement Project

Emerging Works Concert: Eliza Frye, Meghan Gallagher, Josh Anderson & Laura DeAngelis, Expedition Dance, Bone & Fiddle Dance Collective, OPEN Movement Performance Group

Youth Showcase: City Ballet of Cleveland, Dianna Durkin Dance, Bone & Fiddle Dance Collective, Beck Center for the Arts, Cleveland School of the Arts, The Movement Project Summer Intensive Guest Artists

Show 1 and 2 Details:

Performance Dates: Friday, November 8th & Saturday, November 9th

Time: 8:00 pm (Box Office Opens at 6:30 pm/Theatre Doors Open at 7:30 pm)

Location: Pilgrim Church, 2592 W. 14th Street, Cleveland Ohio 44113

Parking: Free lot parking & street parking (parking map coming soon!)

Ticket Price: $16 (pre-sale) $18 (at the door) *Note: Pre-sale ends November 7th at 11:30 pm

Emerging Works Concert Details:

Performance Date: Friday, November 8th

Time: 6:00 pm (Box Office Opens at 4:45 pm/Theatre Doors Open at 5:45 pm)

Location: Pilgrim Church, 2592 W. 14th Street, Cleveland Ohio 44113

Parking: Free lot parking & street parking (parking map coming soon!)

Ticket Price: $14 (pre-sale & door) *Note: Pre-sale ends November 7th at 11:30 pm

Youth Showcase Details:

Performance Date: Saturday, November 9th

Time: 5:00 pm (Box Office Opens at 4:00 pm/Theatre Doors Open at 4:45 pm)

Location: Pilgrim Church, 2592 W. 14th Street, Cleveland Ohio 44113

Parking: Free lot parking & street parking (parking map coming soon!)

Ticket Price: $14 (pre-sale & door) *Note: Pre-sale ends November 7th at 11:30 pm

Want to grab your tickets to a performance or reserve your spot at our masterclasses? Visit our website →

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