On Saturday, Oct. 16, in the Walker Recital Hall, CorbinDances presented a concert of great interest and intimacy.
Both the size of the venue and the dancers’ attempt to foster a sense of community made for a special art experience.
Led by accomplished dancer and choreographer Patrick Corbin, who used to dance in the famous Paul Taylor Dance Company, CorbinDances has been sharing work with audiences since 2006. The company is based in New York City but tours throughout the country.
The evening featured excerpts from “Shady,” a choreographic work by Corbin that will have its full debut in 2011 at the Joyce Theatre in New York. Corbin said that for now he still views the pieces as “a work in progress.”
“Shady,” gave off a sort of industrial, everyday life feel with casual clothing as costuming, simple lighting, and the bare look of the Walker stage. The performance mixed musical genres, placing more classical works by Haydn and Mahler right alongside music by Led Zeppelin and Bjork.
The movement in “Shady” varied somewhat throughout, although the entire concert was very much a modern dance presentation. Certain sections looked highly improvisational. Some movements were very circular and flowing, and others were more jerky and jumpy.
Arguably the most moving part of the evening was a pas de trios between Corbin and company dancers Morgan Fogarty and Meggi Sweeney. The movement was sinuous, and the dynamic and emotive performance of the dancers captured the audience’s attention.
The dancing in the concert was followed by an artist chat session with Corbin and his dancers, who answered audience questions and discussed the process of creating “Shady,” as well as the general experience of being a dancer.
When discussing “Shady,” Corbin said that the initial inspiration for the piece was the seven states of consciousness. He said that from that point, the piece came to be about human relationships and a sense of community. That sense of community, between dancers and also between dancers and audience, is what Corbin said he was aiming for as the effect of the piece. Audience members who spoke during the chat lauded Corbin for achieving this goal.
Corbin also said that much of the material for “Shady” was produced through improvisation and that certain sections of the piece are still structured improvisation. For the official debut of the full work, Corbin will be crediting the dancers as well as himself for choreography, since it was such a collaborative endeavor.
Junior Kelly Clymer said of the performance, “I thought their movement vocabulary was very unique, and I was especially drawn in by the second act.
“From a choreographic standpoint, it was also interesting to listen to their different improvisational techniques in the discussion at the end of the show. What really inspired me was their sense of freedom in their movements.”
“He used a unique movement vocabulary. My favorite part was the pas de deux,” said junior Anna Daught.
Freshman Emily Reed said, “I loved the mix of the classical music and the classic rock. Their sense of community was absolutely spectacular as well. The dancers were amazing and really portrayed emotion. I thought the show was spectacular.”