Dance Now shows spring up at waning of winter with ‘ShowDown,’ ‘Survival Aesthetics’ and solos
The skies and streets should be cleared of snow in time for the final week of Dance Now at The Dance Complex in Central Square, live performances that include excerpts from “ShowDown,” the all-dance reimagining by New York’s The Bang Group of “Annie Get Your Gun.”
Choreographer David Parker rethinks for modern audiences the themes of the 1946 musical about Annie Oakley while using recordings from the Irving Berlin classic. (This was the show that introduced “There’s No Business Like Show Business” to the world, warbled to the rafters by Ethel Merman.)
“The piece breaks out the themes of the musical – the showdown between men and women, the limitations of gender stereotypes, ambition, competition and the allure of show business – without using the conventional narrative or characters,” Parker told the Boston nonprofit Monkeyhouse in 2008. “The fluidity of gender roles and couples is a very key element in the show.”
Alexander Davis and Joy Davis, known as The Davis Sisters, serve as hosts and perform vignettes between Dance Now pieces, most of which – like “ShowDown” – are included in Saturday and Sunday shows.
Harvard’s Aysha Upchurch brings a piece called “Tensile Joy,” which she called an exploration into understanding what keeps her going even when it feels like life is saying she shouldn’t. “It is supernatural. It is fuel. It is unfailing. It is radical,” Upchurch said.
On Saturday only, The Dance Complex’s own Peter DiMuro performs a new solo piece called “Five Episodes Facing Dusk and a Possible Dawn” that reflect on what DiMuro calls the “stupefying existence we as a world and we as individuals have experienced over the last two years” of pandemic.
DiMuro dances aside Sunday to make room for a work in progress choreographed by Boston’s Kristin Wagner and called, at least for now, “Survival Aesthetics.” It has an appealing premise: celebrating meaningless beauty and rejecting a “current wave of highly intellectual art,” according to Wagner. What underlies the dance sounds pretty intellectual, though, as Wagner said she pulled from lesser-known Darwinian theories of evolution arguing aesthetics are inherent to survival “to inspire movement vocabulary whose meaning exists only in the beauty of its presentation.” Dancers from Wagner’s The Click include Olivia Blaisdell, Katrina Conte, Rachel Linsky, Audrey MacLean and Frederick Moss.
Sunday has a virtual attendance option; to attend the in-person performances, ticket holders must show either a physical copy or photo of proof of vaccination, a negative PCR Covid test from the past 72 hours or a negative antigen test from the past 24 hours. Masks must be worn by attendees throughout the performance and at all times in public spaces within the building.
- Tickets for Dance Now start at $20 each day. Shows are at 8 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday. The Dance Complex is at 536 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.