AVID’s inaugural season: Taking the audience on a journey

AVID dancers in a work by Quinn Wharton. Photo by Jeremy Kyle.
AVID dancers in a work by Quinn Wharton. Photo by Jeremy Kyle.

The Theatre at St. Jeans, New York, NY.
June 26, 2024.

AVID, the new dance company of collaborative artists, premiered its inaugural season in NYC in late June. AVID (Artistic Ventures In Dance) is the brainchild of Emily Speed and Tanya Trembly. The company aims to deepen the connection between audience and artist, as well as provide opportunities for seasoned and new artists alike.

The evening opened to a live musical overture for piano, flute and cello. Live musicians make dance better – period. Audiences were treated to this union of live music and dance for several of the pieces presented.

Italian Suite (excerpts) opened the dancing portion of the night with a lovely neo-classical three-part presentation. It was beautiful, simple put, consisting of a solo, pas de deux and a women’s dance. It was a perfect opener, gentle and approachable. Next, the duet, Moonlight, shared that same loveliness, but with an added layer of complexity as it explores the nuances of love and trust, and their relationship to the unknown.

Closing the first half of the show was Untamed Woman, a slow burn of a work that started tame and ended as a bonfire. I once attended a bonfire fueled by defunct pianos whose strings popped as they burned – this was not dissimilar in the sense that destruction can provide beauty, and that shedding the “rules” can lead to wonder.

Persona opens the second part of the show, a dance for the sake of dance, a quartet, and a lovely ride through the mystic that is just dance. Owls – Birds 1 was up next and employed something I love but don’t see that often: sophisticated humor through dance. It works so well when done with technically excellent dancers. Lastly, Impluse explores the paradox of our current relationship with technology and how it relates to human connection. Ending the program with this contemporary work shows the long journey AVID took the audience on – from the first piece to the last – it was an interesting ride: like being subtlety pushed to feel new things like a gentle breeze that grew in intensity over the course of the evening.

All in all, the night was extremely well danced. Companies like this are such a valuable addition to the dance world given how many exquisite freelance dancers exist, often with few opportunities to perform. The passion of directors of this company is clear with each aspect of this performance from the support they were able to sustain, to the dancers and choreographers they work with, to the inclusion of live music, and to the overall professionalism of the production. It was a joy to watch!

By Emily Sarkissian of Dance Informa.

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