Led by Artistic Director/Founder Takehiro “Take” Ueyama, contemporary dance company TAKE Dance premieres The Distance of the Moon, a full-evening work featuring six different musical selections choreographed by Ueyama, Jill Echo, Kile Hotchkiss and Julie Tice. Known for its penchant for musicality, TAKE Dance has commissioned PULSE, a federation of six award-winning composers, to create multi-genre works for this debut collaboration.
For Ueyama, “collaboration with contemporary artists in other genres is one of the major motivating factors in the creative process.” The choreographers have been working day-in and day-out with PULSE’s group of composers. TAKE Dance and its members’ organic, evocative, and forceful movements have helped shape and execute the music of each piece. Music will be performed on-stage “live” by some of today’s top jazz and classical artists (line-up TBA).
The title of the program is inspired by the short story The Distance of the Moon in Italo Calvino’s phantasmagorical 1965 book Cosmicomics. The story depicts a time before history when the Earth was so close to the Moon that people could climb ladders and jump onto the Moon’s lunar surface.
Ueyama pairs his “forceful, fluid movement” (Bloomberg News) with Joseph C. Phillips Jr.’s classical/jazz compositional style in The Distance of the Moon, a pas de deux depicting the love story between the Moon and the Earth. Set to music creating a sense of wonder, mystery, and beauty, the work is a metaphor for two lovers, like the Moon and the Earth, slowly moving apart and never feeling closeness again. Ueyama’s second work, And Dance By the Light of the Moon, is a men’s quartet portraying quasi-human creatures who discover the Moon set to the music of composer/saxophonist Joshua Shneider.
Jill Echo, a former Paul Taylor dancer and founding member of TAKE Dance, brings two works that illustrate the various effects that the Moon has on us. In Moonshine, theatrical choreography and funk-laced music by composer/guitarist Jamie Begian together portray the enigmatic influences the Moon has on a group of seven people. Add a bar scene with the effects of alcohol and you get a comedy of mayhem and uninhibited behavior. In contrast, Echo’s second piece depicts the Moon’s luminous beauty and its ability to ignite one’s unconscious. Set to music by Japanese composer Yumiko Sunami, the piece is a reflection of the Moon’s ethereal power on a quintet of women through four phases – New Moon, Ascending Moon, Full Moon, and Descending Moon.
Similarly, choreographer/dancer Julie Tice, a fellow Paul Taylor alumnus, is also captivated by the changing phases of the Moon in a new piece entitled Lunar Cycles. Set to music by composer/trombonist JC Sanford, it symbolizes the Moon’s transformations and how they affect people’s characters.
Rounding out the program is the choreographic debut of TAKE Dance member Kile Hotchkiss. His section features a quintet of dancers outlining the alignment and dissolution of a lunar eclipse. Moving with the principles of observation and obstruction, the dancers explore the measures of shadowed darkness from astral projections as well as from within. Topping the “Composer Rising Star” and “Arranger Rising Star” categories in the 2010 DownBeat Critics Poll, composer Darcy James Argue sets the tone with his much talked about “wickedly intelligent dispatch from the fading border between orchestral jazz and post-rock and classical minimalism” (New York Times).
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