In their first showcase, Richmond’s Snap Soup Dance mixed choreography and film to create a moving representation of the post-collegiate struggle.
On Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30, Snap Soup Dance held “Dance Film Animation,” their first showcase of modern dance, choreography, dance film and animation, at Dogtown Dance Theatre in Manchester.
It is a good time in Richmond for dance. In addition to Snap Soup Dance’s performance, the weekend also saw Starr Foster Dance hold their 17th Annual Mid-Atlantic Choreographer’s Showcase at the Grace Street Theatre. Meanwhile, K Dance held “Shorts 2019!” at Firehouse Theatre, and Richmond Ballet wrapped up its annual Studio Two performances within its own studios. Dance, like many artistic expressions in the city, is thriving as one community in Richmond.
Back at Dogtown Dance Theatre, Snap Soup Dance left the small audience impressed and elated with a tight show. Under the helm of the group’s Artistic Director and Founder, Callie Moore, the show presented several pieces in succession, with a quick 60-minute run time.
Snap Soup Dance’s mascot, the kind of inflatable tube man you’d see at a car lot, gas station, or state fair, appeared on the performance poster, in the first dance film, and as a live debut during intermission. The symbolism of the tube man, rising and falling, stuck with me throughout the duration of the night.
Having previously seen pieces of Moore’s work performed individually, this was my first experience of seeing her work in succession. As a young professional like Moore, I deeply connected with each piece of the night’s show, whether it was her intention or not. As a VCU graduate, I related to the constant reminders and images of life in the River City, as gritty and depressing as it can be, as well as a feeling of control and ownership.
“Dance Film Animation” began with a film titled “Tight Quarters.” In this piece, four dancers unveiled subtle choreography in an extremely small apartment kitchen. The subtlety was the key in depicting the way four roommates could operate in their own devices while coexisting with others who operate under different devices. One dancer would wash the dish, one dancer would put the dish away, one dancer would sweep the floor, while the final dancer ate cereal among them. In the plot I watched unfold, dance was used as an escape from day-to-day tedium.
The second piece of the night, “Smell My Feet,” incorporated Soundcloud hip hop with contemporary dance, and I saw a struggle — one much like the rising and falling of the inflatable tube man.
My favorite dance film of the night, “Where to from here?” showed a dancer performing in the sun, poised in front of the Richmond skyline. The dancer, Kara Robertson of KARAR Dance Company, moved with an expressionless face, and yet again, I was reminded of the struggle and grind young artistic professionals experience.
The performance’s final piece, “A Pathetic,” was a modern dance trio that I believe encapsulated the themes of the night. This finale had each dancer embracing one another in dark lighting. Dance held them together in an overwhelming world, and it left me feeling awed at the way experiences and feeling can be translated for an audience in the most unexpected ways.
Photos via Snap Soup Dance/snapsoupdance.com