Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Ormao explores how we interact with each other, and with the natural world around us

Posted By on Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 9:20 AM

click to enlarge e l e m e n t s, March 22-23, 7:30 p.m., and March 23, 4 p.m., CC’s Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave., $21-$26, ormaodance.org. - TMDEXTER PHOTOGRAPHY
  • TMDexter Photography
  • e l e m e n t s, March 22-23, 7:30 p.m., and March 23, 4 p.m., CC’s Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave., $21-$26, ormaodance.org.
Environment plays a large role in the art of dance, where performers must not only interact with each other, but also with the environment of their stage — the platforms, props or audience perspectives at play. In its latest program, e l e m e n t s, Ormao Dance Company presents a series of contemporary dances that, thematically, deal with such interaction in a more figurative way: the way we as human beings interact with each other, and with the natural world around us.

One piece, commissioned by Ormao from David Dorfman Dance Company out of New York City, blends text and movement to explore human connection. Dorfman tasked the dancers with journaling responses to questions such as “what can you learn from a stranger?” Some answers to these questions have been incorporated into the final piece.

Ormao director Janet Johnson choreographed a brand new performance for this show as well, called Braided. Featuring a trio of dancers, Braided was inspired by a book called Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, which seeks to help humanity reconnect to the natural world. “We don’t know how to be with nature,” Johnson says. “There can be reciprocity; we can have a really positive impact on nature and we actually do need to participate.”
The dancers in Braided use ropes to represent life experiences, the paths we take that form our identity and, ultimately, our relationships. “They have their three [ropes], then they have a whole thing where they have to braid their lives together. It’s like, ‘Here’s what I’m bringing; what have you got?’ So they use each of those groups of three to make one big, large bundle, and then their movement becomes very integrated,” Johnson says.

The e l e m e n t s program will also include choreographer Patrizia Herminjard’s On the Nature of Daylight, an exploration of natural life cycles that premiered at Ormao’s 2018 show Ovation!, and two pieces commissioned by the Colorado Springs Chorale, both set to Spanish-language poetry and music composed by Shawn Kirchner and Eric Whitacre.

“We called it e l e m e n t s because it does bring in a lot of environmental concepts,” Johnson says, “and also just that real human connection that we have with each other. There are elements of that in everything.”

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