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DancEthos, Word Dance Theater offer variety of artistic dance voices

DancEthos company members Carolyn Kamrath and Meg McDermott perform “Kodaly.” (Tiffany Haughn/Dance Place)

“Part and Parcel” on Saturday at Dance Place was a varied and thoughtful program. It was so named because “the audience is part and parcel of every work.”

So explained Tiffany Haughn, director of DancEthos, one of two District-based companies that joined forces for an evening premised on the belief that no work is complete until it has been seen by an audience. Joining DancEthos, which favors a variety of artistic voices, was Word Dance Theater, which is directed by Cynthia Word and devoted to preserving and performing the works of modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan.

This may seem like an odd pairing of companies, but it worked because both successfully involved the audience. For example, they handed out a pre-performance questionnaire with questions such as, “Was the differentiation of the two opposing groups clear and, if not, how could it have been clearer to you?” This gave audience members a focus and framework with which to view the dances.

The first half offered two competent choreographies by Word based on Duncan’s technique and vision, and powerful re-creations of six of Duncan’s works mostly from her years in post-revolutionary Russia. These  included “Revolutionary Etude” (1921), “Dubinushka” (1924), “Crossing” (1923), “Mother Etude” (1921), “Angel and Spirit Rising” (1910) and “La Marseillaise” (1915), restaged by Valerie Durham.

DancEthos presented a gamut of artistic voices, the best of which were Matthew Bennett’s “Matriculate,” a spoken poem (plus dancers) on parent-child relationships, and Jenny Fleming­loss’s “Some Middle Ground,” which sought to bring together a politically divided United States. Also on the program were “Framework” by Vladimir Angelov; Haughn’s “The In Between,” on living with cancer; and Carolyn Kamrath’s “Incessant,” about coping with Parkinson’s disease.

Kidron is a freelance writer.



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