It’s fairly common knowledge that the tango is one of
the absolute sexiest things in the world. So “Desire”
is the perfect title for this year’s installment of the
3rd Ave. Dance Company’s annual performance, which features
the requisite tango as well as salsa, jazz and contemporary
dance. There’s even a number where three dancers –
portraying writer/lovers AnaEFs Nin and Henry Miller and his
wife, June Miller – tango together. The dancing is incredible
and may even stir desire in more than a few viewers.
But don’t be misled
– the show is not just about sexual desire.
show is based on all different desires,” says Suzy DiSanto,
a co-founder of the dance company and choreographer of “AnaEFs,”
the three-way tango number. “It runs the gamut of emotion.”
For example, “Petticoat
Burden” explores what women feel when men go off to pursue
dangerous occupations, such as firefighting, DiSanto says. This
number is special because it was choreographed by K.T. Nelson,
artistic director of ODC San Francisco, which is “the
modern dance company in San Francisco,” DiSanto says.
DiSanto and partners Lisa
Bodwalk and Shannon Mitchell commissioned Nelson to create the
dance specifically for their company. Nelson visited Durango
for just one week in August, which meant the dancers rehearsed
for five to six hours a day to learn the dance.
paid off. The dancers in this piece – and in all of them,
for that matter – combine grace, athleticism and flexibility
to cast a spell over the voyeuristic viewer. “Petticoat
Burden” features a charged duet by Talia Bamerick and
Fred Houser as she tries to get him to stay with her by playing
on his desire. Back-up dancers wear over-sized petticoats that
create an illusion of dust falling (to conjure images of the
World Trade Center, DiSanto says) and intermittently toss tissues
on the floor – which they manage to make look graceful.
“K.T. really pushed
us further than the company had gone before,” DiSanto
the week after Nelson left, the dancers had another intense
week of rehearsals as they learned a dance commissioned from
Nancy Cranbourne, who came from Boulder to teach them “The
Long Walk.” This jazz number is the finale and it should
be – the exuberance of the dancers is obvious.
“This piece is about
having fun and the joy of the moment,” DiSanto says. “It’s
really fun to dance.”
In fact, Bodwalk grinned so
ecstatically as she performed the piece in rehearsal with other
troupe members that several off-stage dancers giggled at her
Bodwalk also shines in a solo
performance to an Eva Cassidy cover of Sting’s “Fields
of Gold.” Mitchell choreographed it specifically for Bodwalk,
who only wanted to perform in Desire, rather than choreograph
as well. The piece explores turning 40, which Mitchell will
do in February.
The show is rounded out by
“From Here to There,” a piece choreographed by Durango’s
Laurel Schaffer that delves into relationships through contemporary
dance; a sprinkling of short tango or salsa duets that feature
DiSanto’s spice and fantastic lighting, costumes and sets.
Bringing a production of this
caliber to Durango thrills the three partners in 3rd Ave. Dance
Company, which they founded in 1999.
not stuff like this in Durango,” DiSanto says.
The 11 dancers in Desire are
essentially volunteers and have to hold down jobs while finding
common time to rehearse, DiSanto says. Their dedication is matched
only by the passion of the founders.
“It’s really nice
with the trio if people want to explore their different artistic
impulses,” DiSanto says. “We feed off of each other.”
In turn, audiences will feed
off the energy created by the artistry of all of the dancers
in the 3rd Ave. Dance Company’s performance of Desire.
From sassy shrugs and kicks and leaps and twirls to slinky duets
and unique maneuvers – like a dancer rolling over a row
of people – this show has it all.
And with a subject matter
like desire, there’s no question that this is the No.
1 date night of the year.