For the 6th annual Richmond Dance Festival’s finale, the third weekend’s performance on May 10 and 11 sported heartwrenching and joyous solos. The first show incorporated many different forms of dance, and the second show strongly hosted a majority of modern duets and company pieces. The final weekend differed only in terms of the number of people performing on stage, and was the strongest weekend yet, featuring some of my favorite solos to date.
“A Solo for 206 Performers,” Choreographed and performed by Michelle Koppl
With a title that tips its hat to the exact number of bones in the human body, Koppl made me uncomfortable in the most pleasant way possible. In Koppl’s words, her solo “explores the relationship between the mind and the body in motion,” and I could feel her breathe as she performed. At one point, she turned to the crowd and slowly scanned the audience with wide eyes and an open mouth; a haunting scene still vivid as day.
“Shape in Water,”Choreographed and performed by Allen Xing
Xing is a one of those dancers you imagine when you picture a dancing career. He has travelled and studied in various parts of the globe, and he has performed in many more. Currently based in Baltimore, Xing brought this immersive solo to Richmond. It is a performance reminiscent of water, lit with five blue spotlights at alternating spots on the stage, giving the image of Xing dancing underwater. His most spectacular move was a jump split with a four-foot vertical.
“Midnight Margarita,”Choreographed and performed by Kayla Xavier
This half performance art/half modern dance solo was served to the audience as comic relief. Most audiences and even dancers can have an air of pretentiousness about them, and Xavier tears it all down with one piece. Acting as an intoxicated partygoer who just arrives home, the dance was full of laughs as Xavier mimed pouring herself another glass, vomiting, and literally spinning out of control. Her entire performance was lit by a lone spotlight, and it just felt right.
“Singkilan,”Choreographed by Dhol Tuason and performed by Sayaw! Diversity
Taking a reprieve from the solos of the final weekend of the 2019 Richmond Dance Festival, the production’s final piece of the night was a group piece featuring over 20 performers. “Singkilan” is a traditional Filipino dance, broken into three sections comprised of three sets of performers. From young to old, Filipino men and women showed Richmond a rich culture that rarely gets the spotlight. More of this please.
With the conclusion of the Richmond Dance Festival, Dogtown Dance Theatre’s annual programming comes to a close. The 2019 Dogtown Presenter’s Series will take place this September, and it will be feature one local choreographer, who has yet to be announced. Find out more at dogtowndancetheatre.com.
Top Photo by Dave Parrish