Destination Martha's Vineyard : A moving portrait
Dancers from 3 to 73 come together to celebrate the Vineyard through dance in "Destination Martha's Vineyard," a showcase recital from RISE: Vineyard Performing Arts. The show offers a colorful portrayal of all things Island, demonstrated through varying styles of dance, from musical theatre to modern to hip-hop.
The program opens with a lively rendition of "My Favorite Things," from "The Sound of Music," but with a Vineyard twist. Varying ages of beginner and advanced musical theatre groups sing about the joys of Island life: the Ag fair, jumping from the top rail of the Oak Bluffs bridge, "finding red tail hawk wings," are just a few of the favorites they convert to lyrics.
The stage fills with kids and color: kites and umbrellas, inner tubes, tennis racquets - summer unlike summer anywhere else, Destination Martha's Vineyard keeps reminding us.
Shifting from the more tangible day-to-day details to the more Island aesthetic, high school students and adults take the stage together in a lushly textured modern piece. Set to selections form Phillip Glass' "The Hours," the women, some draped in sea foam green, others in deep azure and purple, flow together, adding layer upon layer of movement to create a true impression of our ocean.
RISE opened its doors November 15, 2007. Behind those doors is a warm and welcoming professional studio, and at the heart of it are Sandy Stone and Jil Matrisciano, who both come from a contemporary dance background.
Their respective professional dance careers took them from their Island home and into the world. Ms. Stone danced with the Paul Taylor Company in New York for 12 years and taught at the Boston Conservatory. Ms. Matrisciano also danced in New York and then taught at Dean College in Franklin, Mass.
Coming back to the Vineyard, they wanted to bring the same caliber of dance they had experienced in their professional lives. "We wanted to give the kids an all-encompassing program and along with it a home - a place to come to," says Ms. Matrisciano.
Photos by Ralph Stewart
It seems when it comes to dance for young people, there are no longer a lot of options. RISE is now the only studio on the Island that offers musical theater, tap, and hip-hop. The women plan on broadening the scope of their classes as well, offering varying performance based classes, including acting. They agree the goal is to become a true performance art center.
Ms. Stone says, "The Vineyard is becoming a dance destination." She points to groups like Built on Stilts and The Yard, which attract serious dancers to the Island. Interns from The Yard and other high level dancers dancing in the studio give the kids an inspiring taste of what dance can be - an opportunity, as Ms. Matrisciano says, "to see what happens in the big world." RISE also offers more intensive classes to support a high performance level.
This summer, RISE will include guest teachers, choreographers, and Broadway dancers who will participate in workshops. Special guest Annemarie Mazzini, of the Paul Taylor Company, will perform a solo piece at Destination Martha's Vineyard and will also be joined on stage by her students.
Destination Martha's Vineyard will be performed at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School's Performing Arts Center, 455 State Road in Oak Bluffs on Sunday, June 29, at 2 and 7 pm. $15 for adults, $12 for children. 508-693-2262.