Chris Ferguson and Chase Adin have been working together since 2008 and have collaborated on three full-length performance works of art.
“We work rather untraditionally when it comes to creating work. Typically a choreographer finds a music and meshes it with a piece of music they feel fits the piece best — I choreograph in silence”, Adin said.[jump]
The air at Studio 620 feels charged, and the audience buzzes with anticipation. There's a brief introduction-then the lights fade to black.
The first act "Patient Energy" shows the very raw movement of Tai-Chi and Kung Fu. There are times of pure uniform serenity-then the dancers attack, battling each other, shifting the energy of the entire room. I find myself so focused on the beauty of the lines, the purpose behind every movement, the music becomes an afterthought.
Among the several different themes of the night "Trash Bird," "The Meaning of Time" and "White Man Can’t Dance" stand out.
"Trash Bird," a solo performance by Andrey Richter, is a contemporary ballet set to Beach House's music. Richter silenced the crowd with her flawless gestures and graceful lines. If watching one person dance could move the hearts of a people, I believe that she would be the person to do so.
"The Meaning of Time," an acting trio where the past-self, present-self, and future-self end up meeting. A journal is kept, but can’t be found and things take a turn for what seems like the worst. When the journal is lost, all their future plans and memories seem forever gone — and the time, years, days, hours spent wrapped in what was and what could be seems a waste of time in general.
The true message of this skit is to simply love yourself. There will be a moment in life where time and the restraints you put on yourself have no meaning at all. There will be no deadline or rush to get married or have kids. The only person you will set out to make happy is yourself and the memories that you are hoping to build will come naturally.
The last event for the evening ended on a comedic note and left the crowd in high spirits: "White Man Can’t Dance," which makes light of political correctness and social stereotypes. Featuring a live rapper, and choreographer DeMario Henry from the VYB Dance Company, it had me falling out of my chair laughing at some moments while knowing it’s a little wrong. In the piece, Leary Baptiste plays Sean Cooper, a production manager looking for minority dancer for a live music video, who gets the shock of his life when his assistant (Jonas Presendieu) hires three white dancers who claim to be the "minorities of the minorities," based on statistics.
Having witnessed the choreographic skill, the movement becomes a conversation, it’s clean and calculated. Dance and physical expressiveness are fundamental to Adin’s work; he is a master at defining character through movement alone. Ferguson knows his way around the elements of theatrical spectacle as well as directing, costumes were simple but didn’t draw your attention away from the performance and the lighting effects and music fix into every dimension. These partners left no stone unturned in the planning of making sure their shows were well polished and displaced what needed to be said and felt.
There aren’t many events that I have been to where I have loved every single moment. AF Dance Theatre II delivered a night that won’t soon be forgotten.
See AF Dance Theatre II Fri.-Sat., Sept. 13-14, at JDP Black Box Theater, 5330 Primrose Lake Circle, Tampa. 813-979-2222.