In its 12th year, Evoke Productions’ Full Tilt is still going strong with its largest-ever cast, 31 dancers. Providing valuable opportunities for both emerging artists to make their first connections and for established artists to expand their networks, the festival offers a venue and paid studio time for many of Seattle’s local choreographers and dancers, and has become a deeply rooted community institution.
Jeremy Cline’s Apocalypse, Ecstasy juxtaposed two scenes, the first a butt-kicking martial section danced to roaring heavy metal music, and the second a contemplative dénouement, evoking a tranquil Operatic requiem. Cline’s costuming, designed by himself and the dancers, did much to establish the piece’s setting. Militaristic garb in shades of sand and black suggested video game fighters, and the combative choreography furthered this theme. Several dancers sported dark lipstick and one even wore a bandana with a sinister-looking skeletal leer, fully committing to the fury and wrath driven by the musical selection from Rage Against the Machine. The dancers thrashed and whacked, the choreography and the music both intriguingly comprising a mix of genres. Parts of the work were redolent of a mosh pit, while others, utilizing the strong force of kicks in balletic lines and also the raw athleticism of breaking, brought war and violence to mind. Following the intensity of this hardcore movement, the closing of Cline’s work traversed images of dead bodies in a heap, couples comforting each other in classical partnering duets, and finally a circular undulation of spinal arches, as if finally finding peace in meditation. The work, rich and multi-layered with ideas and cultural references, seamlessly progressed between numerous movement genres, showcasing Cline’s mastery of a fresh and unique stylistic fusion. In Apocalypse, Cline communicates that through the catharsis of rage, one can reach a state of, if not joy, then perhaps ecstasy.
Melissa Sanderson’s Crescent also stood out this evening. The piece’s six dancers worked effectively as ensemble members, costumed identically in maroon biketards, they reached that sought-after unison state in which no one dancer is more conspicuous than any other. Three duets gradually gave way to revolving trios in a thoughtful, almost mathematical design, while the soothing electronic music kept the piece’s dynamic smooth throughout. Sanderson’s movement vocabulary featured a sensual intertwining of limbs as the dancers progressed, caravan-style, around the stage in an ovular pattern. Sometimes standing up to grab one toe in a yogic leg extension and at other times dropping low into wide, gooey lunges, the dancers ended in a rippling clump of limbs, as if the dance they were performing was really an ongoing frame of mind with neither beginning nor end.
Marlo Ariz presented That One Night…, an upbeat number highlighting three tappers and evolving into an energetic and carefree jazz piece for a cast of ten, set to a medley of jazz standards. That One Night… tapped into the quintessential joy of dance. Looking at their faces, the performers exuded delight in being alive and able to move their bodies with exuberant pleasure. Bright red costumes and dashing black jackets furnished by Cornish and eXit SPACE further elevated this uplifting work. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more exciting, the dancers donned red blazers to complete their over-the-top look. Although creating jubilant choreography can often pose a challenge, Ariz’s work avoided being cheesy with the performative intention to subtly acknowledge its own euphoria and then recommit to the outrageous jazzy pizzaz.
Also on the program were a lighthearted quintet Wanna Knit About It? by Tyra Kopf and Hayley Shannon’s intergenerational piece, No room for shame here.
Full Tilt ran April 27-28 at Velocity Dance Center. For more on the Evoke Productions , featured choreographers and dancers, please visit HERE.