VLA Dance’s two ‘Bare Velvet’ performances bring audiences closer in a surprising space
A theater for dance performances is years off in the Canal District at Kendall Square, which is why the VLA Dance company brings its “Bare Velvet” to a former office building cafeteria space Friday and Saturday.
“Traditionally, dance is performed in a concert setting with a proscenium stage with curtains, and the audience on one side and the dancers on the other,” company director Victoria Lynn Awkward said. “This is a bare space. There are no curtains, there is no stage.”
That puts the audience up close with nine members of the troupe, founded in just January, as it performs 40 minutes of rigorously physical dance in a unique venue of unused corporate space – the former K2 Cafe, which BioMed Realty is using for the arts while contemplating what to do with the former Constellation Center parcel. The second part of the evening brings the dancers back to improvise to the music of DanceNite, a project of the musician Nate Tucker.
“Dance, like any performance, can have a more storytelling veneer; this is more abstract. It lets the audience really watch the dancers physically,” Awkward said. The space is “stripping all the veneer away.”
“Bare Velvet” showcases humanity in its rawest form, without additional or external flourishes, she said, while each DanceNite event is built from live artist collaboration, which means a one-of-a-kind show every time.
VLA Dance’s “Bare Velvet,” presented by BioMed Realty, is 8 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 500 Kendall St., in The Canal District at Kendall Square. General admission is $20 (with fees, $22.85) with a $10 ticket for students, artists and others needing a sliding scale (with fees, $12.24) and a $50 VIP option (with fees, $54.67). As of Thursday afternoon, only VIP tickets were available for the Friday performance. Information is here.