Innovation at Yard's season opener
The Yard, the Island's resident summer dance colony in Chilmark, opened its season with two dramatically different but equally innovative presentations. The evening began with Michelle Mola and The Troupe performing "For Tracks That Loop and Record," an edgy and complex piece inspired by improvisational work co-directed by Ms. Mola and Zack Winokur.
The second half of the evening featured four comic works by choreographer Dudley Brooks and Run for Your Life!... it's a Dance Company.
The combination of new work from two such different dance groups, both awarded this year's company residencies, provided an exhilarating evening. Their performances began a special weekend-long Bennington
College Connection, honoring The Yard founder, the late Patricia Nanon, who was a Bennington alumna. Ms. Nanon's daughter, Victoria Woolner Samuels, who co-sponsored the evening with Anne Gallagher of Oak Bluffs, spoke briefly about her mother during the intermission between the two performances.
The show began with a single male dancer, dressed in a dark suit, his back to the audience. His movements accompanied a recorded musical track by turn-of-the-century Italian futurist composer Luigi Russolo and his brother Antonio. The sound was intriguingly antiquated and scratchy.
As if inspired by the Russolo brothers' "machine music," four (eventually five) female dancers marched onto the bare stage with its gray scrim backdrop. Their costumes, short beige tunics with tights and black high-heeled lace shoes, seem to help articulate the dancers' muscular and athletic limb movements. They often used their shoes to create an effect that came close to tap dance.
Another grouping, this time of male dancers (one was a female dressed to look male) capitalized on masculine-gendered movements, particularly through its use of the stage walls as elements the dancers could move into and against. To this dance novice, the dancers' motions often seemed reminiscent of the Connecticut-based dance company, Pilobolus.