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“In the Moment” improvisational dance performance

          This weekend I had the chance to head to Chicago and see In the Moment, a show featuring 14 improvised performance pieces, including one by Beloit’s own Aliza Tresser’17. The show was put on by J. Lindsay Brown, a Chicago-based dance and improvisation artist, and artistic director of J. Lindsay Brown Dance Company. 

          A variety of different performances were included in the show, including dance, instrumental and musical. Additionally, different sorts of improvisational techniques were used. In “Whose Dance Is It Anyway?”, Stephanie Rankin started out with a “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” structure, asking for contributions from the audience and letting the audience choose an emotion, a movement and the music for the piece. After three minutes of working with the audience, Rankin performed a three-minute improvised dance using the suggestions.

          In “Two Person Musical Improv”, Gail Gallagher and Neil Figuracion of the Glitter Island Gang asked the audience for notes and a beat, and created an improvised song, in which the piano and voice were used. They also created easy to follow choruses, so the audience could sing along. One song was about the loss of one audience member’s phone, and the second was about anxiety and breathing.

          Tresser’s piece was the sixth of the night and was as delightful as it had been at Chelonia Dance Concert, where it was performed four different times. The piece is different each time it is performed, with the three dancers and the cellist, Emma Hall, working with different cues each time. At In the Moment, dancer Gabrielle Rose Garcia started a motif of smiling and waving, which carried on from about the middle of the piece, and ended with the dancers collapsing onto the ground in laughter, overall it was one of the strongest times I have seen the piece performed.

          During intermission, four dancers from the J. Lindsay Brown Dance company created a dance based on a title that the audience had come up with before intermission. The title of the piece was Red Boots and Silence and it was performed after intermission. The piece was short and sweet, and it seemed as though the dancers had known it for more than the mere 15 minutes of intermission. It was made up of four different movements, one created by each of the dancers, and also included the use of voice.

          Overall, the show was a mixed bag, offering many different looks at how improvisation can be experimented with. It was interesting seeing the different types of performance explored, and the many different ideas and movements the performers explored.

All photos by Simon Wu. 

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