Atlanta Dance Connection
Maynard Jackson High School, Georgia
October 28-29, 2011
By Rebekah Bennett.
I love to be surprised; but let me tell you, it is not easy to surprise me and it is not easy to impress me. I am also, (and I am embarrassed to admit this to the world), of the belief that male dancers have it much easier than their female counterparts. Do you know what else I love? I love to be wrong. Allyne D Gartrell, thank you for not letting these male dancers off the hook.
Let me tell you about the men of Atlanta Dance Connection. Their technique was astounding, their bodies, strong and powerful. These men moved through the space, soaring through the air one moment and rolling to the ground the next with flawless controlled power. They seemed contained and in control of the movement but only barely. There was an underlying current of caged energy that pulsated from ever perfect extension and movement.
While I am on the topic of male dancers, I need to give props to one in particular, Xavie Demar. I asked him how he managed to get that tall body to the ground so quickly and then manage to have his legs to his ears the next second! “In my training,” he shared, “I danced with a lot of shorter people. My ballet teachers would tell me, you need to move as fast and as big as that person, that little girl, standing next to me. That was my push. I wanted to be a professional dancer from the time I started training and I can’t hide.” Hide he cannot, however, he fits in this company. He blends in and only adds to the beauty of the whole picture.
There where beautiful moments through the whole show. The different choreographers showcased the dancers’ incredible abilities with gorgeous turning sequences and a wonderful fusion of ballet, modern and jazz movement.
The gem of the show was Movement III from My Inspiration, dedicated to Talley Beatty, a great pioneer of Jazz dance. The dancers, robed in stunning velvet dresses, moved quickly and flawlessly through the fast paced, joyful movement. These dresses, by costume designer Maurice Smith, perfectly showcased the dancers’ diverse and beautiful body types. It was obvious that they loved performing the choreography as much as I loved watching it. That is because it was everything that I as dancer, love about dancing – hard core modern-jazz fusion moves wrapped in an air of sassy groove. It was nearly impossible to stay in my seat! It was pure dance happiness.
So, Mr. Gartrell, thank you again for a night of surprises and of great dance. Your dancers of Atlanta Dance Connection are incredible artists who, in their own words, can’t imagine dancing anywhere else. Thank you for bringing your style to Atlanta. We are lucky to have you here.