Kinetics Dance Theatre plans a dazzling night for 10th Anniversary Gala

April 08, 1994|By Rona Hirsch | Rona Hirsch,Contributing Writer

For tonight's 10th Anniversary Gala, Kinetics Dance Theatre will offer wine and cheese, sexual harassment, body tossing and a new director.

The gala begins at 7 p.m. in Howard Community College's Smith Theatre with a wine and cheese reception, followed by a performance of new and recent works by Kinetics Dance Company and Apprentice Company.

With artistic director Ken Skrzesz, who joined Kinetics last summer as managing director, the gala committee decided against reviving old works for the celebration.

"It's a brand new rep, being the company is new and the artistic director is new," said the 33-year-old Baltimore resident.

"We decided since it was the 10th anniversary and going in a new direction, it should go with all new material."

Using modern dance to express modern problems, the 105-minute program highlights the woes of struggling relationships and hassles on the job.

"By its nature, modern dance is about making statements of the time," Mr. Skrzesz said.

"To keep it modern and contemporary, modern dance makes socio-political statements."

The director choreographed four of the five dances for the program, basing several of the numbers on personal and work experiences.

A Baltimore native, Mr. Skrzesz graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Towson State University in 1986; two years later, he earned a master's of fine arts in dance from the University of North Carolina.

He moved to New York City, where he danced professionally for 3 1/2 years for Alan Danielson and Company.

He studied under Ruth Currier, who was an original member of the Limon Company, one of the first modern dance companies in New York.

In 1990, he served as an administrator at the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center in New York for 18 months, before accepting a position as assistant professor of dance at South West Missouri State University.

His first piece, "Waterworks," features three women, ages 20 through 45, as it explores the metaphor of women's life cycles and the cycles of the tides and moon.

Drawing on past relationships, Mr. Skrzesz saw a pattern in how women evolved through the course of a relationship.

"I recognized that their relationships changed as they matured -- from infatuation to being comfortable to knowing it will be over," he said.

"This piece explores death rather than divorce or separation.

"I think there's something cyclical that happens in women's lives: marriage, motherhood.

"That whole feeling of rebirth and giving birth.

"The original concept of infatuation is a feeling of being reborn after [leaving one's] parents. I don't think men experience that."

The 14-minute piece is interspersed with dialogue and live music, featuring two American folk songs, "The Water Is Wide" and "By the River," that will be performed by a pianist and soprano.

The second dance, "The Life and Times of . . ," choreographed by Kinetics instructor and dancer Amanda Thom-Woodson, probes the complexities of human relationships.

The 9-minute piece features one woman and three men, including Mr. Skrzesz.

Coupled with dialogue, the piece features excerpts from the song "Expedition Ship," written by Ms. Thom-Woodson's husband, Neal Woodson.

"The dance is about the types of relationships one goes through in a lifetime -- between men and men, between men and women, friendships vs. hate," said the 32-year-old Towson resident.

"It plays with emotions."

Because the company has four male dancers, she decided to seize the opportunity to create a piece that prominently features men.

"I've always wanted to work with men," said Ms. Thom-Woodson, a professor of dance at Goucher College and teacher of modern dance at Carver Arts and Technology High School.

"It's rare in dance, especially in modern dance that [a company] has four men.

"It usually has two men and lots of women. So I decided to use the men and create a piece I was interested in."

Out to create something dramatic, she decided to choreograph a piece where bodies are thrown to the floor -- repeatedly.

"I wanted to see that sort of drastic approach," she said.

"Throughout the first and third movements, bodies are on the floor throughout.

"It's part of a thematic approach.

"A person gets up and is thrown to floor and gets up again and thrown again.

"It's part of the theme, the hate part of relationships, the way someone suddenly spurns you and turns away from you.

"There's anger in it, too. Sounds vicious, right?"

But using a contrasting approach, Ms. Thom-Woodson manages connect the second movement to the other two.

"The first and last sections are drawn from bodies being thrown through the space and dropping to the floor," she said. "To

juxtapose that, my middle section is a trio where the woman never touches the floor.

"She is lifted throughout the entire section and her feet never touch the floor. It's a very loving, tender movement from the men to the women."

The third piece, "Songs of Young Love," by Mr. Skrzesz, features four songs by Franz Schubert.

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