There are two ways of considering the Boise Dance Co-op. The fourth annual event, which took place at the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Annex Aug. 28-29, is an assembly of the Treasure Valley’s most feted dancers and choreographers. It’s also a laboratory where audiences can observe Boise dance culture’s most daring experiments.
By public acclaim, the most dramatic of these was "Bass Drop," a thrilling new hybrid live/video performance danced and choreographed by Jason Hartley. The video component, shot by Boise filmmaker Ron Torres, featured staccato, jaw-dropping moves performed in an urban warehouse district, as well as a parkour routine. Once the video was finished, Hartley threw down with a live segment that challenged preconceived notions of the limits of the human body. Set to dubstep and classics by the likes of The Clash and White Stripes, "Bass Drop" points the way to more stirring works by Hartley.
"Fractured," choreographed by Lauren Edson—not in attendance, but preparing for an October performance at the Morrison Center in October—laid claim to the most expressive dance at the Co-op this year. Performed by more than a dozen teenaged dancers and set to an eclectic mix of tunes, "Fractured" combined Edson’s characteristic flair with the human form’s muscular grace and elegant arrangements.
Also true to its choreographer’s style, Daniel Ojeda’s "Classic Timekillers" boasted a full cast and musical collaboration between Boise rockers Sun Blood Stories and Ojeda himself, as well as a spoken-word segment of Aldous Huxley reading The Doors of Perception. While the Esther Simplot stage slightly cramped Ojeda’s arrangement, it offered excellent performances by John Frazer, Adrienne Kerr and Jem Wierenga. The audience loved its flair.
Two solo performances over the course of the evening rocked the house. "8th & Folsom," choreographed by Jessica Liu—formerly of Idaho Dance Theatre—and performed by Lydia Sakolsky-Basquill of Project Flux; and "Restless," choreographed by Raymond Van Mason and performed by Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti of Ballet Idaho, punctuated the evening. Alegrias, a musical interlude by Shimi Tree (Estefania Sanchez, Joel Gongora and Kelli Brown) filled a similar role following the intermission.
The evening ended with a surprise. Sakolsky-Basquill typically favors choreographies featuring small casts, improvisational elements and spoken word accompaniments, but broke from her previous model with "Ten," which included a large cast and music by Mimicking Birds. While "Ten" exuded its choreographer’s vibrant style, this unusually structured, tight piece, with standout performances by Project Flux regulars including Angela Napier Gibson, Jessica Sulikowski, Kerr and Wierenga, showed a set of her talents audiences rarely see.