Alia Kelly takes a headlong leap into the air in Idaho Dance Theatre's production of "Affinities," a duet by Carl Rowe. Just as her body becomes parallel to the floor, Kaelen O'Shea, moving in a circle from behind, catches her in stride. The breath-taking maneuver personifies Risky Business, the title of the opening production of IDT's 20th anniversary season.
Kelly and O'Shea's move symbolizes the jump Rowe and co-artistic director Marla Hansen took when they started this modern dance company, which focuses on local and state-wide talent. Risky business indeed. Yet here they are with an emphatic statement in this production, saying that IDT has nothing to fear from the arrival of two other companies sharing IDT's longtime home, the Boise State Special Events Center.
Risky Business also includes "A Fire in the Belly," choreographed by Rowe, "Tenacious" by choreographer Marla Hansen and "Al Fresco Clarity," by IDT dancer and choreographer Gonzalo Valdez, who created a mesmerizing rhythmic romp of Latin primal energy that sent the audience into raucous joy.
Hansen's opener, "Tenacious," is an austere exploration of anguish and resolution, set to music of the Balanescu string quartet, whose gauzy reverb gives a haunting, dreamy effect. The most poignant moment is in the segment "Peace," in which seven dancers in sequential solos hold a variety of extreme extensions, requiring superb concentration and confidence.
"A Fire in the Belly" showcases eight dancers in constant and complex motion, an organism adapting in size and intensity to that of the four sections of a dazzling solo guitar piece by a living Italian composer, Carlo Domeniconi.
Great dance makes music visible, and the music chosen by Hansen and Rowe over the years, from Alison Krauss to Dmitry Shostakovich, is as fascinating as the realizations it inspires. The silent partner in IDT's success is the lighting of Fred Hansen, whose angles and colors were especially effective. With music, light and well-costumed, well-trained bodies in precision, IDT makes music worth seeing.
The next Idaho Dance Theatre performance is Jan. 29, 2009. For more information, call 208-331-9592 or visit idahodancetheatre.org.