Relay Dance Collective took to Velocity Dance Center’s stage April 3-5 with refreshing vitality, showcasing their own unique approach to movement performance. The company’s commitment to “building community, fostering diverse expression, and bringing high-caliber performances to life” informed the exuberant and eclectic showcase that was RDC3. With a total of twenty-one performers and eight choreographers, RDC3 incorporated a broad range of individuals and movement genres in a recital-style showcase that demonstrated the joys of modern, contemporary, and hip hop dance without missing a beat.
Eva Stone’s End of a Year kicked off the evening on a balletic note. With women clad in black dresses and men in matching attire, the dancers moved expansively through the space. Classical vocabulary along with the sweeping of hands through fabric skirts alluded to an air of romanticism while partner sections were reminiscent of more Renaissance-era court dances, with linear formations that passed through one another. A simple choreographic structure allowed the dancers to tackle technical phrase work with beautiful intention and focus.
The same was true of The Blue Room – 3rd Movement, where dancer Erin Crall (a guest performer from ARC Dance Company) presented a solo choreographed by Jason Ohlberg. Set to the Latin-sounding scores of six different musical artists, Crall’s performance combined strong technique with refreshing musicality. Jumps were juxtaposed with rolling phrases and one-armed balances, creating for a diversity of images within a single piece but still establishing an aesthetic through-line; Crall’s performance stood out as one of the most memorable of the evening.
Foreplay Longtime began the second act on an energetic note. In this fun and funny jazz piece choreographed by Diana Cardiff, six dancers transformed into guitar-strumming, head-banging, punk rock goddesses with zero inhibitions and a wardrobe to match. Barrel turns, leaps, and classic jazz vocabulary made up this slightly conventional but high-energy number; the dancers brought a new voraciousness and passion to the stage. In a complete change of tone, Megan Riddle and Warren Woo performed Austin Sexton’s duet, Pour lâcher, a sometimes-joyous, sometimes-sad vision of what it means to love someone who is no longer there—or perhaps, to love someone who never was. While the dancers’ performance could have benefited from a subtler approach, Sexton’s narrative offered a beautiful character study on imagination, memory, and loss.
RDC Untitled EP was a hip-hop piece choreographed by Markeith Wiley and danced by Alex Cann, Ian Howe, Sexton, and Diadra Smith. In this booty popping, lip-synching, rapping, singing, rhythmic anthology, all four dancers took to the stage with presence and enthusiasm, making the piece exciting to watch. Lace & Rye, a western-inspired composition by Alana O Rogers featured the technical capacity of dancers Kelsey Barrett, Gabrielle Gainor, Sierra Keith, and Anna Zemke. With beer bottles and stick horses, saloon-inspired costumes and gun-shaped hand gestures, Lace & Rye was a thematic work that featured the dancers’ strengths and physical capacities in turn.
Also included in the program were Cheryl Delostrinos’ Shatter, Fiona Vigdor’s Ping Pong Fumble Thaw, and Jessica Zoller’s As Felt in the Wrists and Neck—three very different works that emphasized the artistic range of what RDC dancers are willing to tackle. From Delostrinos’ lyrical look at nature and human interconnectivity, to Vigdor’s contemporary ballet exploration, to Zoller’s understated duet, the performers’ passion was evident in all three pieces, and contributed to the overall success of the show. While there were moments where the choreography did not suit the dancers’ technical capabilities, the large cast of performers and the diverse array of works brought a revitalizing energy to the space. This energy, combined with the program’s broad scope of tastes and styles, makes Relay Dance Collective a troupe well worth supporting.
More information about Relay Dance Collective is available on their website.