Project 7 Contemporary Dance Company
February 17 2012
7 Stages Theatre, Atlanta GA
By Deborah Searle.
For the past four years I have been watching Project 7 Contemporary Dance Company mature and find its place in the Atlanta dance scene. Under the direction of Cherrise Wakeham, Project 7 continues to give young dancers a place to learn, express and push the boundaries of commercial contemporary dance.
With not an empty seat in the house, Project 7’s newest performance was a showcase of ten distinct pieces interwoven with text. Each piece was very different but worked towards a message of how love and hope can overcome fear. Some dances were very lyrical, some very introverted and intricate, and others more jazzy and isolated, with props such as steps, a door and umbrellas utilized in interesting ways. Each piece had me fully engaged and on a journey with the performers.
The stage design was simple, but elegant, with an eclectic mix of dimly lit chandeliers hanging from the rigs. At times all the chandeliers were lit and at others, just a few. They created beautiful shadows on the cyclorama and were very effective.
Wakeham’s choreography is always intricate, interesting and enjoyable to watch. It isn’t so contemporary that it’s an acquired taste for those who enjoy the unusual arts, but it isn’t so commercial that it seems over stylized and competition dance-like. Wakeham has created a balance where the general public, dance lovers and artists alike can walk away from the theater challenged, touched and inspired.
The highlights of the evening were the pieces “Why”, which I had seen performed before, and “Forgiveness”. Both these pieces took my breath away. They were obvious crowd favorites as well. The way that Wakeham connected her movements and embodied the music in even the smallest of twitches or shoulder rolls, was something special. She has a movement language of her own. Every piece presented was fully realized. Wakeham captures the potential of her dancers, the music and the movement.
The dancers of Project 7 are stunning, expressive dancers, who can explode into a dynamic leap out of nowhere, but also melt with coolness and calm. Under Wakeham’s direction this group of talented young dancers has the world at their feet.