An Effortless Revisit to the Religion of our Childhood
Effortless. The word effortless is often used to describe superior performances. We applaud the ease in which they are presented to us, but in this supposed ease there is the security of believing that what was achieved was not actually challenging. A secure audience is in danger of missing of the passion, because they are to busy appreciating the craft.
Luckily for San Diego audiences, Malashock Dance opened their 2016 season with the demanding and visceral “Malashock Signatures” and the craft is in every moment. The modern/contemporary company presented four pieces choreographed by founder John Malashock – two favorites and two world premiere pieces – last night in the company’s Abbe Wolfsheimer Studio. In their 28th season, the intimate setting was a change from past, large-scale productions.
Malashock introduced his first world premier piece “Things Unremembered” with the affable ease of an expert storyteller. “At some point in our lives we must revisit the religion of our childhood,” he paused and smiled. “Whatever that means to you.” Considering the speeches and bloodshed on the matter, I wondered if that was a rather ambitious undertaking for a dance number. Until it began. Then I wondered why we tried to express it through anything but art.
The effortlessness we love to respect is shattered by the sounds of a studio rehearsal space. There was no tall, stage ceiling for vibrations to politely escape the audience’s notice. The clap of a catch after a trusting dive, the soft handing of skin as they clasp to spin, their feet meeting the floor after a leap. Even their breath, the heave of the chest after sprinting, is in the audience. The air of the studio was sweet with the sweat of effort. The space allows the audience to be in the dance, because you must be in the dance for the dance to make sense. Malashock’s vulnerable and provocative new works called for the intimate space.
Malashock challenged the audience with his introduction, a gentle reminder that these pieces are not athletic recitals, but expressions of emotions that words have not reached. That is the beauty of dance, with so much felt and nothing spoken – the feelings can, finally, just mean what you need it to. The honesty of the closeness proved the excellence of this company. Their talent, combined with the plans and sincerity within Managing Director Molly Puryear’s audience appreciation address are an electrifying start to this company’s promising season.
Performances will be held through this weekend and then again January 28 – 31, 2016. Tickets are on sale now via www.malashockdance.org and I suggest you buy yours immediately; the opening was sold out. Also, be on the lookout for Malashock Dance’s upcoming project with The San Diego Symphony!