8: Olive Prince and Shavon Norris. Olive Prince, a delightful dancer, choreographed quite a good piece Thursday evening with I Desire, one of eight new works by local choreographers for the Live Arts Festival. The pieces are being presented in four sets of two.
Marie Brown, Lindsay Browning, and Nora Gibson joined Prince onstage for I Desire, while Christopher B. Farrell’s compelling score moved them through with conviction. The dancers entwined themselves by turns in root-brown vines that hung from above. Prince repeated a motif using one vine for a support for deep back-bends and later did a little aerial work with it. This was not your girly maypole dance; all four attacked the meaty choreography with gusto. While Gibson brought her purposeful presence to the piece, Prince gave it its grace.
Dancers Mina Estrada, C. Kemal Nance, and Les Rivera inhabited the second work, Shavon Norris’ The Body in Lines, so well I was less disappointed that Norris wasn’t dancing. While I Desire explored what people really want from life, Norris focused on how people label each other and their lineage.
Nance played the role of what the narration called the “scary, big black man,” who is actually a dancer and educator (as Nance is in reality). Estrada, not the kind of dancer one would expect to find in a kick line, amusingly marched the three to the opening steps of A Chorus Line. Rivera slyly snorted and loped in apelike fashion through a dance meant to mock racial stereotyping.
The two simple, yet terrific dance concepts of I Desire and The Body in Lines are good examples of how dance transfixes audiences even when they don’t quite know what they are seeing.
– Merilyn Jackson