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Motionhouse’s Scattered: British Contemporary Dance At The Annenberg Center This Weekend

imageThis is a great and rare opportunity for dance fans as this buzzworthy company makes its North American tour debut. Motionhouse has been wowwing fans and novices of dance performance since 1988. Co-founders Kevin Finnan (artistic director) and Louise Richards (executive director) have staged 18 full-scale production since the copmany’s inception in England. They’ve pushed contemporary dance by combining atypical elements including film and aerial performance. Starting tonight, there’ll be four performances before they conclude on Saturday night.

The theme this weekend is Scattered. What you wouldn’t get from this title is that this performance is about water. Finnan pulled visions together that are anchored by an image of an ice field. He found it fascinating the way that water is a source of life, an element in science that is, truly, humans’ source of life. We’re born out of water, our bodies consist of mostly water and as he mentions in the program’s notes, water keeps our bodies from being smashed by gravity. Water can destroy lives as it does with floods, tsunamis, title waves and ice ages but also nourishes us and sustains us. We live on image“the blue planet” and it’s for a reason – life as we know it would not exist on Earth if it weren’t for H2O. Finnan found inspiration for these performances in this fascinating force of nature and expanded his vision from this starting point.

Perhaps most fascinating about this performance is the crucial implementation of a curved wall that reaches toward the ceiling of the stage. This is where dancers expertly slide and tumble downwards and also where the company deftly employs film and moving image. The projections and the imagery employed are also of water and ice: pouring and falling water, cracking ice, melting cubes, pooled and disturbed still water and so on. The small school’s brilliantly-trained and professional company dancers are outrageosly fit. This show is demanding. With most of them ballet-trained, not only is their execution muscular and athletic, but it’s also graceful and razor sharp.

We’re really looking forward to catching Saturady’s matinee performance but tonight they get started at 7:30p. Friday and Saturday, they’re doing 8pm performances with one matinee at 2p on Saturday as well. On Friday, it looks like you can stay after the performance and ask questions of the dancers and choreographers. Check out the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts’ page about the show and grab some tickets, which are anywhere from $20 to $55. The ACPA is on Penn’s campus at 3680 Walnut Street.

Check out the trailer:

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