Balance Dance Company Showcases Breakthrough Choreographies

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The stage at Boise Contemporary Theater was lit only by a glowing green exit sign when Balance Dance Company dancers took to the stage. Someone flipped a switch; the lights flicked on; music from Hauschka trickled out of the house public address system. Dancers swarmed, converging on a single point. They took positions on a starting line, only to spin in their own directions when the starting shot sounded. It was the story of a footrace told by every participant.

The name of the dance was Notes from Flat 71 by Balance alum Gracie Whyte—the first of six dances that debuted March 14 at Boise Contemporary Theater as part of Balance Dance Company's 15-year celebration, The Balance Generation. Whyte's choreography was smart and physical enough to make the seated audience sweat, and one of the evening's many successes.

Dances on show ranged from the charming to the oblique. Aperture, a thoroughly disorienting and experimental dance by Elizabeth McSurdy, began with weeping dancers climbing the stairs next to the audience seating, followed by chanting on stage as an inquiry into how staged women's bodies are viewed by an audience. Less abstract was Postcard by Johanna Kirk, in which three strutted, skipped and posed for imaginary pictures in a charming study of friendship and travel.

Kalish, a triumphant and intellectual piece inspired by dance paintings by artist Marilyn Kalish, made brilliant use of a white sheet that accentuated the movements of the powerful soloist Sadi Mosko, who, moments before the end of the dance, rolled her ankle. Though the injury was not serious, Mosko abstained from dancing for the rest of the evening, forgoing her solo in Common Ancestor, which choreographer, director and Balance Dance founder Leah Clark described as "basically a solo for Sadi in a big yellow prom dress."

Despite the setback, The Balance Generation was a smashing success that rolled out original and brilliant dances performed by extraordinary dancers.

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