Tom Evert and Susana Weingarten were mainstays of Clevelands dance scene for two decades until they left for Washington, DC, in 2007 to develop educational programs. They recently returned to Northeast Ohio, where theyre continuing to teach while running Dancevert, their modern-dance company.
Both sides of the couples activity were on display Friday at Shore Cultural Centre in Euclid. The title of the program, Geometry in Motion, reflects artistic director Everts immersion into connections between dance and mathematical principles of shape, line and space.
This may sound didactic on paper (or in cyberspace), but no hint of pedantry bogs down Everts crisp and appealing works. An observer can get the point of various angles or circles being formed within the dance while also enjoying the well-proportioned vibrancy of the choreography.
Members of the University of Akron Dance Company explored Evert ideas in Geometry in Motion 1.1. The eight women, looking like the happiest of disco dancers in shimmering costumes, negotiated symmetrical and angular patterns before projected images of skeletons, amusement-park scenes, Radio City Music Hall (they became the Rockettes) and changing shapes.
Everts choreography, set to invigorating electronic pop music, takes the dancers through an array of challenges, many in unison or domino-effect patterns. If you missed some striking detail in the first section, just wait around to check the movement out again in its entirety in the fourth section.
The students appeared to relish every moment in the spotlight, performing with fine attention to form and personality, and bringing sharp clarity to Everts choreography.
Evert was onstage with three Dancevert colleagues for Geometry in Motion 1.2, which suggests a cycle of pieces on the topic is in store. Something about insects is implied at the outset as Evert appears in night-crawler mode sounds of crickets can be heard but the four sections instead unfold as an abstract series of arresting ensemble interactions.
The dancers, dressed in black and blue unitards, fold bodies together and morph into all sorts of alluring patterns throughout the four sections. In one sequence, the performers manipulate long, red rubber bands, creating triangles and rectangles that seem to come out of nowhere.
But, again, the substance of the dance transcends educational intentions to emerge as a full-fledged piece of art. Evert joined Nick Carlisle, Meghan Haas and Martha Bellamy in a seasoned and elegant account of his creation.
Along with a brief documentary about Everts educational program, the evening included two works featuring Danceverts directors. Weingarten began the night with Raying, her solo set before a full moon in which the movement evokes a ritual of celebration.
With arms darting and crossing in the air and body bending in sinuous configurations, Weingarten conveyed a sense of heightened euphoria with assistance from haunting music by Helios.
She teamed with Evert at programs end in Feathered Edges, a joint creation that encapsulates rapturous elements that make the couples forays into contemporary dance so compelling. They swirl and yearn, hover over one another and intertwine. In the Everts world, geometry in motion is often a means to sensuality in motion.