REVIEWS: Adele Myers, Cedar Lake awe-inspiring

Jul. 06, 2014 @ 05:10 PM

Performances by Adele Myers and Dancers and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet provide some thought-provoking and awe-inspiring moments during the American Dance Festival’s fourth week.
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet turns in strong performances as dancers inhabit the different worlds of three choreographers.
On Saturday, at Durham Performing Arts Center, Hofesh Shechter’s “Violet Kid,” presents an often violent world in which people struggle. Ominous sounds, dark storm clouds (smoke) and intermittent darkness help create the atmosphere. A dancer pointing his hand like a gun to the head of a man on his knees marks the first sign of violence. Dancers also fight each other. There’s a sense of panic as though people are trying to escape danger. A man grabs a woman by the waist and they run as though pursued by demons. There are also some strange, beautiful movements as hunched-over dancers scramble low to the floor while their hands reach high in scribbling motions. This movement also has a primitive quality like early man before he could walk upright. Finally, a moment of calm with slow, soft music – but it’s still dark onstage. Then, that ominous sound again as the dance ends.
In Crystal Pite’s “Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue,” five dancers deliver compelling performances filled with caring gestures. A dancer spins as he carries a woman draped over his shoulder. A man bends under his partner’s arm as though finding shelter there. And, in the most dramatic “rescue,” a man runs for his life, trying to grab onto a woman’s hand extended far behind her. When he finally does, he collapses.
In the world premiere of Emanuel Gat’s “Ida?,” dim lighting and the low sound of Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata No. 32, Op.111,”  help create a somewhat mysterious and private sense of looking in on a group of people. There is so much group emphasis that individual connections stand out. A man seems to be glued to his partner. A woman, on her stomach, holds onto a man’s ankle as he walks backwards. The sound of a woman repeatedly calling “Ida?” becomes a mysterious, haunting refrain. Where is Ida? Actually, she’s right there dancing with other company members to pull off this challenging work. The dance ends with dancers standing close together, perhaps signifying the close-knit group they have become in creating this work. They bend, lean, stand straight, and then, as though on cue, lower their arms.
Adele Myers and Dancers performance of Myers’ “Einstein’s Happiest Thought,” on Wednesday at Reynolds Industries Theater, would probably have made Einstein smile because gravity plays a big role in this work. Also, Einstein’s “happiest thought” inspired the dance. This thought has to do with the different ways in which people experience time and space in relation to gravity.
The dance is an experiment in defying gravity and also resonates in terms of human experience in maintaining balance while meeting life’s challenges and also in taking risks as a way to change and grow. As The Walker, Morgan Griffin helps define the space as she takes almost imperceptible steps while carrying the end of a long rope suspended behind her. At one point, dancers have to leap over the rope. Those dancers, Tara Burns, Raphaelle Kessedjian, Kellie Lynch, and Amber Morgan meet all challenges as they push themselves to the brink of falling.  For instance, they lean way back and windmill their arms in a blur of motion to counteract gravity’s strong pull. One dancer even performs fearless moves on a short ladder. Sitting on top, she pushes with one foot against a rung so that the ladder lowers into a split and so does she. She also balances on her stomach on the top of the ladder and slowly, with the help of gravity and an extremely flexible spine, sinks lower and closer to the ladder until she’s aligned snuggly against it. The dance ends as she stands triumphantly on top of the ladder then gets off and pulls the ladder behind her as she exits.