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Two Decades of Dance

Idaho Dance Theatre goes Full Throttle with season finale

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In Boise, we're lucky to have a dance community committed to offering performances in which audiences receive an eyeful, earful and a heartful. Idaho Dance Theatre, which recently concluded its 20th season, is a huge part of that.

Last weekend's season finale at the SPEC, titled Full Throttle, included "Prime of Life" and "1964" (both from 2006) and the premieres of "Suspended" and "Fractured Silence" and was, overall a lush performance with drama, humor, a touch of the surreal and engaging, intriguing musical choices.

In "Prime of Life"—set to the music of Jennifer Higden and choreographed by IDT co-artistic director Carl Rowe—eight male/female dancers pairs moved across the stage, painting broad strokes of earth and sky costumed in russet reds and cornflower blues. Though toward the end of the piece, a couple of the pairings fell out of synchronization with each other, the movements were delicate but firm, at times tentative, at other times passionate and fierce, bringing to mind May Day dances and the first spring blooms of mountain daisies as they push through the soil toward the sun.

For IDT's premiere of "Suspended," IDT alumni Kelli Brown staged a noir setting. Courtney Bingham, Brandi Breshears and Jean Schroeder, all dressed in black, sat on, stood on, leapt from, and pushed and pulled a large black wooden box across the stage. With the ethereal music of Philip Glass behind them, they employed leg slaps and gazelle like moves, the long straight lines of their bodies then folding into soft concave curves as they piled upon each other for a brief moment before striking off again, their movements bug-like, sharp and efficient and full of surprises.

Lauren Edson gave us a funny but, on occasion, trite tribute to the music of The Beatles with "1964." Tall Yurek Hansen, dressed in a red turtleneck and white sailor pants was lithe and confident and he leapt through "Girl," "Help!," "We Can Work It Out" and "She Loves You" as Kaelen O'Shea, Gonzalo Valdez and Boise Weekly contributor Jeremiah Wierenga provided comic relief, their long, lean lunges reminiscent of zoot-suited Tex Avery wolves.

Lori Evans was lovely in "Michelle," translating the music beautifully, but it was the music that actually kept the piece from being completely transformative. The Beatles are such a part of the collective conscious, each chord and note as ingrained in our minds as any history or math lessons learned in school. Where Beatles music is concerned, "ah-ha!" moments need to come from the interpretation, and while not completely devoid of them, unexpected moments were lacking.

The evening ended with the premiere of IDT co-artistic director Marla Hansen's "Fractured Silence" set to a startling, striking score by composer David Allen Earnest performed live by pianist Del Parkinson and The Verde Percussion group. In mottled turquoise leotards, a full complement of 11 dancers flinched to Earnest's Martin Denny-esque jungle sounds, the tribal, exotic tones buoying handstands and huge cheetah-like leaps.

The evening ended when a slew of IDT alumni who had been in the audience were invited on stage to help the company celebrate the conclusion of 20 years in which the company has employed the human body to express ideas and concepts and translate music and vision in the way only fine dance can do.