Smart - Human - Physical - Fresh

Muscle Memory Dance Theatre subtly pushes the boundaries of performance & the art of dance. M2DT is a collaborative company that honors and encourages dance professionals from around North Texas  in their evocative use of dance as an organic, communicative art.

You Are Here: Muscle Memory Dance Theatre and Ghost Town Arts Collective come together for an interesting dance-art installation.

By Cheryl Callon, Theater Jones

A performance from Muscle Memory Dance Theatre is never cut-and-dry, nor is the experience one size fits all. This is especially evident in You Will Know When You Are There: A Journey in Art and Modern Dance, presented in collaboration with Ghost Town Arts Collective at LIFE in Deep Ellum.

This gallery show/dance performance/art installation provides an up-close-and-personal experience with the dancers and the art. The proscenium and subsequent fourth wall are dismissed in favor of an oblong "stage" on the floor of the theater space with seating on three sides, including on the actual stage. A fabric road leading from the entrance and winding around to the performance space and through the seating consists of many colors, textures and patterns stitched together in just as many shapes and configurations. Two fabric panels hung from the ceiling provide the only vertical border in the space, and lanterns adorn the edges.

Three things to know about this performance before you go (because you should go). First, it's one solid 40-minute stretch, which could be a blessing or a curse depending on your perspective. If you're the type who sits through dance concerts thinking, "Is there no end to this?" then you're in luck. However, you might get so caught up in the experience that the ending comes way too soon.

Second, even though it's an intimate performance, the seating arrangement is varied enough so that you only have to be as involved in the action as you want to be. The stage seating provides a raised, more remote view of the action, while the floor seating provides two rows of intimate interaction.

Third, the performance as a whole actually goes beyond itself and what it's trying to portray. It gives a lesson in experiencing art. The choreography does not always present a clear meaning, but then again, M2DT never prized itself on having straightforward, literal works. They want you to think, to question, maybe even be puzzled and think some more. In time, it might click or it might not.

And that's okay. These types of performances might not be the ones you rave about on Facebook during intermission with all caps, exclamation points and hearts, but they are worth seeing nonetheless.