The Modern Connection: Muscle Memory Dance Theatre collaborates with national modern companies in Collateral: Trade Routes in Dance. By Katie Dravenstott
By Katie Dravenstott, Theater Jones
It was rare to see so many modern dance companies on one stage at Friday night’s performance of Collateral: Trade Routes in Dance, presented by Muscle Memory Dance Theatre. Joining M2DT at LIFE in Deep Ellum were MamLuft&Co. from Cincinnati, Ohio; Perpetual Motion Dance from Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Spank Dance from Austin. The performance repeats tonight.
The host of the evening, Muscle Memory Dance Theatre, showed off its softer side with the ethereal Echoes (2007), choreographed by Michelle Moeller of Perpetual Motion Dance, and its sweet and sassy side with When My Beloved Calls (2012), choreographed by M2DT’s Amy L. Sleigh. But M2DT’s most successful piece of the evening had to be (re)build (2012), choreographed by Lesley Snelson in collaboration with the performers. Using red and white bricks, Meghan Cardwell-Wilson, Alison Mackley and Megan Odom went about building and rebuilding their own structures. Even through the movement was quite literal, it was also well thought out and captivating. Their environment constrained the dancers to linear patterns in and out of the brick formations. The dancers periodically rearranged the bricks meticulously before using them as a way to move across the stage, hopping lightly from one to the next. The clanking of the bricks when moved was accompanied by M83 and Scuba, arranged by Snelson.
In the end two of the dancers laid on top of their incomplete stacks
appearing exhausted by the rebuilding process while the third dancer stood over her incomplete stack appearing content and ready to move on, perhaps implying that while the rebuilding process is important, it’s better to move beyond one’s previous state inspired by past challenges.
◊ Katie Dravenstott is a freelance writer and dance teacher in Dallas.