Growth is the theme explored by both companies performing in this week's Cleveland Public Theatre's DanceWorks program. Inlet Dance Theatre's mission is equal parts performing and outreach/education, while Verb Ballet's Fresh Inventions gives local choreographers and composers the opportunity to set work on a professional dance company.
Inlet's artistic director Bill Wade brings his brand of Erick Hawkins-based modern dance, paired with Pilobolus-style partnering, when Inlet presents two company premieres. "Beauty in Tension" was inspired by the sculptures of Frederick Hart (who created "The Three Soldiers" at Washington D.C.'s Vietnam Veterans Memorial), growing economic insecurity and how close friends dealt with individual financial crises. The dancers manipulate a large piece of fabric that is a metaphor for tension.
"We have a choice in how we respond," says Wade. "Tension can be something that propels you forward. It can bring you to a new vantage point. It can be a catalyst for growth or transformation."
The other new piece is "Create," a bright fusion of modern dance and pop culture. The company will also perform "B'Roke," a technically challenging piece featuring hand-painted unitards inspired by the work of Frank Stella, and "Wind," a duet that is part of Wade's larger work based on his trip to Easter Island. The previously performed "A Close Shave" will feature slightly different costumes, giving the piece new context.
Verb Ballet's annual Fresh Inventions program gives local choreographers the chance to create new work on company dancers. The pieces are performed after just one hour of rehearsal and one technical rehearsal
For the second year, Verb invited northeast Ohio composers to submit pieces of music, which were distributed among seven choreographers. Most found it difficult to work with their given music because they would not have chosen it for themselves.
"Each choreographer came up with something stylistically different from what they normally do," says Verb's artistic and executive director Margaret Carlson. She considers this the success of the program: taking artists out of their comfort zone so they can discover something new. Next year, says Carlson, the program will continue with sculptors as an added layer of collaboration.