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SCUBA provocative and edgy dance
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SCUBA provocative and edgy dance
by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

SCUBA National Touring Network for Dance
May 30-31
Velocity Main Space


The weather outside last weekend was warmer than normal, and the Velocity Main Space (home to Velocity Dance until their September move to Capitol Hill Arts Center, CHAC) was warm enough that many audience members used their programs for fans. Still, no one left at intermission, so exciting were the dances that were part of the annual SCUBA, National Touring Network for Dance program.

The program, which works with Seattle dance groups annually to coordinate with groups from around the country, performs in each city the dancers hail from, producing a program that is as lively as it is innovative.

First on the program was a piece by dancers Beth Graczyk and Corrie Belfort, part of the dance group Salt Horse, called "This Was a Cliff," a tense and multi-leveled piece that at one point had one of the dancers running around the stage over and over again, carrying the dress of the other dancer, who had left the stage.

As energetic as this piece was (performed by dancer/choreographers Graczyk and Belfort), the next piece, "Tar," danced and choreographed by Philadelphia dancer/choreographer Charles O. Anderson, wove a haunting veil of African and African-American experience, including that of slavery. The African dance movements were backed by a large screen, upon which images of at first an ordinary tree, then a "hanging tree" from the times of slavery, leapt and crouched across the stage to the words of Exxex Hemphill's "Fathers, Sons and Unholy Ghosts."

The final two pieces of the evening included another work choreographed by Anderson, who danced two dancers from his Philadelphia group, Dance Theatre X, in a work called "Evidence of Things (Un)Said." The work used a piece from Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower, a reworking of the parable from the biblical Book of Luke.

Explosive, riveting and sensuous, the dancers carved the space they used like birds in flight and in every way presented a work that most likely Butler would have been proud of, had the reclusive local science fiction author lived to see it. Butler died from a fall at her Lake Forest home several years ago.

But the best was indeed saved for last with Chris Schlicting's work, "Love Things," which had male and female dancers dressed in frothy, pink outfits that started as '60s wedding party outfits, then moved on to Schlicting himself, with the single male dancer in undies and sweaters, giving attention to a female dancer, who seductively shimmied in a miniskirt and sweater.

Mostly a fun piece, this one perfectly ended a delightful evening of robust movement by some of the most talented dancers and choreographers from across the country and gave some members of the audience reason to laugh at different points. For more information on Velocity Dance's Velocity Forever Capital Campaign, their fundraising effort to help with the transition from Oddfellows to CHAC, contact shannon@velocitydancecenter.org, or call 206-325-8773.
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