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In Reflexivity, Balance Dance Company Looks Forward, Not Back

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The dancers' movements in "Adjacent Parts: For Mrs. A" were sometimes mechanical, sometimes explosive. Small, constrained gestures--the roll of an ankle, the twist of a neck--transpired to music by Oscar-nominated composer Alexandre Desplat and Christopher Rouse. Then the performers erupted from their little prisons with leaps, thrown limbs and thudding stomps. They paired off and broke apart, casting off stiffened self-conscious motion like sweaters on a hot day.

"Adjacent Parts," choreographed by Kay Braden, was the fourth dance in Balance Dance Company's Reflexivity, a series of dances, many of which featured guest choreographers, performed at Boise Contemporary Theater March 6. As its title suggests, Reflexivity had moments of self-awareness--BDC is, after all, a modern dance company--but the highlight of this performance was an influx of new dancers who showed all the daring, focus and kinetic sureness of professionals.

These included Jun Campion and Hailey Caminiti, two rising stars on the Balance roster. Lithe one moment and muscular the next, Campion radiated charisma. Like a great actor, his movements seemed spontaneous. Caminiti and Campion are new to dance--both began dancing and joined BDC in mid-2013--but Campion has already secured a spot at the University of Utah's Modern Dance Department at, and Caminiti's performance suggests uncommon talent.

The evening began with thoughtful, if familiar pieces. "Pigment," choreographed by Gracie Whyte, was brief, smart and to-the-point. Whyte's instinct to juxtapose small hand and feet movements with grandiose motions in the hips, legs and spines produced a dance that was signature BDC. Similar in style was Rebecca Reed's "Exterior." Performed to "Taro" by Alt-J, this piece drew much of its energy from sophisticated, synchronized movements between dancers.

Where the first act sometimes seemed like a warm-up, the second was a breakout that began with "Adjacent Parts" and "Wise Words," which featured choreography by former BDC dancer Ciera Shaver and tunes by Radical Face. Guest choreographer Amy O'Brien's "All the World's Mornings" tenderly recalled classical ballet, invoking its signature moves and brave leaps.

Music and dance go together like salt and pepper, though when it comes to dance performance, the dance tends to be in the foreground. Reflexivity's third act undermined that trend with a rousing performance by Calico, a student indie-folk band that played while dancing with BDC. It was a fitting capstone to an evening that featured tremendous performances by Campion and Caminiti, as well as regulars Christina Schaeffer and Maya Garabedian--a reminder that BDC is always willing to try something new.


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