Artist weaves dance, theater, visual arts

July 23, 1993|By Patrick Hickerson | Patrick Hickerson,Contributing Writer

Sharon Wyrrick is an artist who works at an imaginary intersection.

It's at a point formed by the convergence of dance, theater and the visual arts. All three figure in her "dance theater" works, which are far from conventional dance or theater.

She will perform three of her creations -- "Trace," "Infinite Passions" and "Nest" -- tomorrow night at the Kinetics Dance Theatre in the Howard County Center for the Arts. For some, this is a rain check for her scheduled Feb. 21 performance, canceled because of snow.

"Sharon Wyrrick is a choreographer of what I call movement theater," said Dottie Fried, artistic director of Kinetics. "They're called performance artists. There are few people like this."

Ms. Wyrrick combines props, movement and dialogue in a way that sets her apart.

So is it theater or dance?

"It's both," said Ms. Wyrrick in a telephone interview from the Ki Theatre in Woodville, Va.

"I call it interdisciplinary. If I called it theater, that would be misleading." The same is true for dance, she said.

Here's a sampling of the props in tomorrow's performances: 200 yards of cloth, 14 mattresses and bouquets of flowers.

Besides a generous use of visuals, each performance will have themes such as the duration of life and its social relations.

She describes "Trace" as outlining the stages of life through metaphors. The work, which is part autobiographical, uses 200 yards of cloth as a symbol of clouds.

"Cloth is representative of the world, my world," she said.

Like "Trace," "Infinite Passions" traces a life. This time the props are more organic.

"The visuals in 'Infinite Passions' are flowers. The flowers become the markers of a journey through life. So they change," she said.

This performance will be a section of the longer version of the same title that lasts more than an hour.

"It's its own complete thing, a conclusive piece," she said.

"Nest," which Ms. Wyrrick said also has some personal elements, employs a dialogue and the 14 mattresses, an allusion to the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea." This work surveys social relationships, including maternal ones.

"Some are the stories about animals. Some are autobiographical. All have some relationship to nesting," she said.

Ms. Wyrrick divides her time between being a touring artist for companies such as Kinetics and as artistic director of Full Circle Dance Company in Woodville. Her works have been performed in Europe, South America and Mexico as well as at the Kennedy Center in Washington and Jacob's Pillow in Massachusetts.

A native of Tulsa, Okla., she took up dance at 21, a late age for those considering it as a career.

"I started out to be a visual artist with sources that are not dance-related," Ms. Wyrrick said.

By living far from the dance centers of the East Coast, "I didn't have people telling me, 'Oh, you're nuts,' " she said.

At 23, she formally abandoned the visual arts for dance. "Seldom do I sit down and paint and draw," she said.

Fourteen years ago she moved to the East Coast and studied at American University in Washington, where she first met Ms. Fried.

Ms. Wyrrick's greatest influences come from the media and literature, and not any particular person, she said.

In October, she will lead Full Circle to Germany to participate in the Tage des Tanzes (Day of Dances) in Ettlingen, an international festival of dance teaching and experimental dance.

Her next creation will be unveiled next spring. "Can I Watch You," a multimedia work that will involve video, dancers and an original score, will premiere at Mount Vernon College in Washington.

Kinetics Dance Theatre will present Sharon Wyrrick at 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road in Ellicott City. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call Kinetics at 461-9907.

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