Dre.Dance's dre.diohead at the LPAC Mainstage Theater on April 30 tells their movement story candidly, ferociously and with a clarity only highly attuned artists possess. In owning their style of movement so completely, each piece resonates as dance in the same way a McDonald's sign resonates as fast food. While dance and fast food don't usually find themselves in the same sentence, this speaks to the raw quality dre.dance emulates. Set to a soundscape of Radiohead music, the company pumps the audience full of buoyant and volatile energy through an invisible IV. Dre.Dance is the creation of childhood friends Andrew Palermo and Taye Diggs. Palermo reigns as the artistic director and choreographer with Diggs contributing additional choreography.
Lights come up on eight dancers in leotards and shorts - looking ready for class but standing so attentively everyone in the room knows it's time to shut up. This gestural phrase echoes so mechanically in unison each dancer seems to have been shocked by the same energy force. Their beautiful lines reach my seat instantaneously sending me into a deeper focus. Quickly the phrase unravels into duets and trios and these manipulations unveil the strength a gesture can exude when paired with thoughtful accents.
After this first piece the program features each dancer through a duet or trio astutely acknowledging and highlighting the strengths that make this unit earth-shatteringly beautiful as a whole. Set within the limits of a city block, the piece works to showcase the differences between their public lives on this shared street and their private ones behind closed doors.
"15 Step" proves that dre.dance is never as good as when the members unite together. While all prior pieces are rife with technique and soul, all the stops come out with aerial work, a conga line worth watching, and movement that travels briskly and perfectly from one side of the stage to the other in a game of epic movement telephone. Members of dre.dance seem to feel each others pulse and spend the entire evening breathing from the same source and exalting it with breathtaking movement. Working both together and apart with sprinkled solos, this piece reveals that the company is as in tune with one another as they are with themselves individually.
This timing speaks to the timing and spatial orientation of all of the pieces and all of the company members. Dre.dance navigates a volatile spectrum while still holding control over both the emotional and visceral actions of the company. To provide an alternative correlation from fast food: if dre.dance were a drink they would be whiskey on the rocks. No twists or garnishes or anything to subdue their flavor - just raw unadulterated dance so strong it barely needs a space to contain it.
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