Linda Bair Dance Co. presents new works

By April 21, 2011

Linda Bair, left, and Shelly Gilbride performing “In Der Fremde,” a piece they will dance during the Linda Bair Dance Company show, "BURST," April 28-30 at the Veterans' Memorial Theater in Davis. Matthias Falk/Courtesy photo

Linda Bair, left, and Shelly Gilbride performing “In Der Fremde,” a piece they will dance during the Linda Bair Dance Company show, "BURST," April 28-30 at the Veterans' Memorial Theater in Davis. Matthias Falk/Courtesy photo

Check it out

What: Linda Bair Dance Company presents “BURST”

When: 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 28 and 29, and 2 and 5 p.m. April 30

Where: Veterans’ Memorial Theater, 203 E. 14th St.

Tickets: $15 general, $10 for students, $5 for children 12 and under, available at the door, by calling (530) 304-2162 or at the Davis Art Center, 1919 F St.

The Davis Art Center’s resident modern dance troupe, the Linda Bair Dance Company, is celebrating the culmination of a jam-packed dance season with “BURST,” an eclectic evening of contemporary dance featuring three premieres and two of the company’s signature dance pieces.

Bair’s five dances explore themes as diverse as the isolation of being in a foreign place to the light-hearted water dances of Esther Williams, with music equally varied.

“BURST” is an appropriate title, as Bair’s company has had an explosively creative year, choreographing four new pieces this season and performing six times in the past six months. Also appropriate is the timing of “BURST,” which occurs during National Dance Week, a movement to acknowledge the value of dance in American culture.

Community engagement has been a priority for the company this year. While performing at the grand reopening of the Stephens Branch Library, the company instigated its first flash-mob, corralling dozens of library patrons to stroll down the center aisle with books balanced on their heads. Bair pursued the opportunity to perform at the library, believing there is a creative symbiosis between the life of the mind that the library represents, and the dancing life that Bair lives daily.

Besides the modern dance and creative movement classes that Bair continues to teach at the Davis Art Center, she and collaborator Cassie Gardner produced the second annual “Dance AS IS” festival at the Veterans’ Memorial Theatre in October, bringing together dance companies from the Bay Area and the Central Valley to share the stage and inspire one another. The company also performed at Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum grand reopening, the Works in the Works Festival in Berkeley, the Grass Valley Center for the Arts and at the Sacramento State Festival for the Arts.

In celebration of National Dance Week, Bair’s company is planning several free events around the show, including “Burst for Books,” a free show at the Stephens Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St., at 4 p.m. Thursday, and an open rehearsal from 5 to 6:30 p.m. the same day at the Veterans’ Memorial Theater, giving people the opportunity to see a dance company at work. The company also will host a free master class on stage from 5 to 6:15 p.m. Friday, April 29.

As the final event of the Linda Bair Dance Company week of dancing, the company will present “Burst for Kids,” an interactive show for children of all ages at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 1, at the Vets’ Theatre. Tickets are $5 for everybody.

“BURST” dance pieces will include:

* “Bloom” (2011): Bursting with color and movement, this playful but intricate dance is an effervescent romp celebrating the 3rd Brandenburg Concerto by J.S. Bach. Having choreographed to this music for high school students 10 years ago, Bair revisits the Brandenburg Concerto with her own company, playing with a complex but light-hearted musicality and rupturing notions of prim femininity.

“Signal” (2011): Inspired by Bair’s adult beginning modern dancers, who approach dance with innate body intelligence and try-anything enthusiasm, this idiosyncratic, quirky piece explores communication between disparate entities: humans and animals, different animal species, people and technology, children and adults. It is about making contact and finding connections, explored through a series of duets layered against washes of group and solo movement.

“Esther” (2010): Developed during the summer of 2010, this splashy yet sophisticated piece set to the music of John Adams was choreographed with the breezy effortlessness of summer. With her dancers as choreographic collaborators, the company giddily sweated through the creation of this piece. Not to say that it is an easy piece to dance, it is non-stop waves of big movement inspired by the old Hollywood movies of Esther Williams — diving, swimming and dancing in a too-tight bathing cap and an unflappable smile.

“In Der Fremde” (2008): Roughly translated, “In der Fremde” means in the strange place or in the foreign place. This nine-person dance draws its inspiration from the time Bair lived and danced in Germany. The curtain opens upon a single person, reading in a chair. A crowd explodes onto the scene and themes of disorientation emerge, deciphering and decoding as the meanings lost and found in translation knit together and unravel. From small gesture to explosive moment, wit, humor, curiosity and raw power escalate into a grand crescendo. The dance, choreographed in 2008 and set to German industrial band Einsturzende Neubauten, is a fan favorite and a signature piece of the company.

“Bang Bang” (2011): This darkly humorous solo is set to the tinny plucks of the current instrument du jour, the ukelele. This woozy, dreamlike character study evokes images of dive bars, lipstick-stained cigarette butts, shady romances and the hazy memories of good times had.

Special to The Enterprise

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