Boise's climate is classified as high desert, but its dance scene is practically a jungle. Modern/contemporary dance troupes that pump out daring (if sometimes rough-hewn) original and avant garde choreographies exist alongside established professional companies performing crowd favorites and audience-friendly new works. That diversity is part of the fun--and sometimes frustration--of attending dance performances, as the content, style and quality of works coming from the different troupes vary wildly.
On Aug. 16, at Boise Dance Co-Op's 2014 Performance, the diversity among the different dancers and troupes was reined in, producing a cohesive set of meditative pieces that resonated with the audience and put the many talents of Boise dancers front and center.
The program was neatly divided in two: The first half was a selection of ruminative duets, group dances putting the spotlight on graceful, expressive motions. "The Books Suggest," choreographed and performed by Lydia Sakolsky-Basquill (Project Flux), was an aerobic, intimate solo dance featuring an almost yogic athleticism. "Fortunato's Cask," based on the Edgar Allan Poe short story, "The Cask of Amontillado," and choreographed by John Frazer, was a humorous romp through tense, gothic source material with outstanding performances by Ballet Idaho dancers Daniel Ojeda as Montresor and Nathan Powell as Fortunato.
The second half of the performance was set entirely to the swaggering tunes of country music icon Lyle Lovett, which ranged in tone from cozy, rumpled love songs to toe-tapping rockers. In guest choreographer Daniel Pelzig's Nine Lives: Songs of Lyle Lovett, the dances, performed by the full Boise Dance Co-Op roster, were live versions of music videos, capturing--sometimes abstractly, sometimes literally--the content of the songs to which they were set. "Black and Blue," featuring BDC organizer Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti and former Trey McIntyre Project dancer Brett Perry, communicated Lovett's love song with humor and hat-tipping empathy.
The Saturday performance was a moment of accord for many of the dance programs across Boise. For much of the time, the scene can be a cacophony of different companies, troupes and projects racing to plant their flags on the performing arts' vast creative turf. Nine Lives was when the disparate voices and visions, to the credit of organizers Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti and Frank Affrunti, synced in harmony.