Falling into New Works at Full Tilt 2013

Written by Charlotte Hart

Fallen, Frozen, Finally Up to Finally Dozin’ by Markeith Wiley
Photo by Joseph Lambert 
Since its founding eight years ago, Evoke Productions has dedicated itself to providing choreographers and dancers opportunities to create and present work in Seattle. Evoke’s latest offering, Full Tilt 2013, ran May 10 and 11, 2013, at Velocity’s Founders Theater. The structure of Full Tilt combined a choreographic application process with an open dancer audition, pairing artists who might not work together regularly to create new contemporary dance works.
The evening began with Markeith Wiley’s Fallen, Frozen, Finally Up to Finally Dozin’ for five women. Wiley’s combination of pedestrian movement with modern technique created striking visual patterns as dancers walked past and around one another, occasionally joining in a group pose connected only by fingertips, never eyes. A disconnected quality between dancers during a duet communicated a sense of isolation; the two women touched in a formal manner, next to each other but never together. Moments of disturbing violence where one woman was lifted and then thrown to the ground intensified these estranged relationships.
Alice Gosti’s the unbreakable ones combined performance art with dance passages. Lights came up, revealing four dancers in formal party attire kneeling on all fours, swaying.  Lurching forward and making chewing motions, the dancers became cows wearing satin costumes.  Abruptly, they rose onto hind legs, wine glasses in hand, to act out a drunken party. While the inebriated-humans-as-slow-witted-animals metaphor was excessive at times, the main dance section seemed too modest in comparison. The dancers filled the space as soloists and when dancing in concert, a portion cut far too short for these confident and talented performers.

the unbreakable ones by Alice GostiPhoto by Joseph Lambert

Kristin Hapke mastered the Founders Theater setting in terrain, an ensemble work for seven dancers. Beginning posed within the audience space, as the lights came up they became predatory animals staring with raptor-like intensity in black textured costumes, muscles taut. A slow diagonal procession of elegant, sweeping lunges led the dancers through the upstage exit, clawing their outstretched hands. Dancers intertwined sinuously, at one point creating silhouettes thrown in triplicate upon a white-curtained wall in undulating patterns. The “terrain” of the title became not only the dance space, but also a sweeping natural landscape filled with multitudes of wildlife accompanied by an atmospheric soundscape.
The highlight of the evening, Jamie Karlovich’s The Deeper Side began with a soft and delicate solo skillfully executed by Alyza DelPan-Monley. Set to Ray Charles’ “Sweet Sixteen Bars,” Deeper Side evoked a feeling of time and place (assisted by a prop record player and 1950s era dresses), rather than narrating a story. The ebb and flow of patterns perfectly matched the sultry, fluid choreography. As dancers melted across the stage under the warm lighting by Ilvs Strauss, the rest of the ensemble gathered at the edges of the dance floor, leaning, sitting, and watching. Swelteringly sensual, Karlovich’s Deeper Side rippled with curves, falls, and suspensions, making it an overall treat to watch.
The Deeper Side by Jamie Karlovich Photo by Joseph Lambert 
Ending the night, Kaitlin McCarthy’s I made you this mixed CD was a high-spirited and gentle satire of high school characters (think The Breakfast Club) to a soundtrack suited to the title. Much like in Gosti’s work, McCarthy combined performance art with dance. This nostalgic work dealt with awkward teenage moments of fitting in and of burgeoning sexuality. mixed CD intentionally bordered on the edge of saccharine and superficial, remaining playful and fun throughout.  
Full Tilt 2013’s mixed bill showed great potential for all choreographers and dancers involved. As a whole, flaws in the presentation were found in minor details: some musical edits needed greater precision, several group sections needed more rehearsal time, theater doors opened and shut during a piece, and an underlying informality seemed of a less professional quality than warranted by the overall production. Despite any weaknesses, Full Tilt’s collage of works showcased the talented performers through different choreographic perspectives.
For more information about Full Tilt see evokeproductions.org.