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Ascending a wooden staircase toward a hanging burgundy, mixed medium tapestry, audience members approach an intimate auditorium space. Recalling the works of the evening, this tapestry would prove to foreshadow the composition of the evening's works. Soft mood lighting and an ambient soundscape provided by Jude Cassell welcomed patrons into an intimate auditorium space. At 7:30 p.m., the Sscapes performance group presented an uninterrupted evening of stories, movement explorations, song, poetry, and video at the Halle Cultural Arts Center. The night brought together an assortment of women and men journeying through the evening's namesake The Space Between.
Glenna Batson opened the stage space with the seated gestural piece, Invocation. Beginning in a striking opening image, she offered only her back and side profile for audience consideration. Resting in one pool of spotlight, a purposeful carriage of the arms allowed us to witness intricate muscle movement possibilities of the back.
Jude Cassell captured downstage center with Nothing Can Be Done (Comes Love), a song articulating the presence of overwhelming love. She was joined by Shana Adams, a melodic songstress who dons a delicate fabric that breathes softly as she paddle turns in song. Adams later returned to perform, I Want Jesus to Walk with Me. Her notes filled the empty stage space and fell comfortably upon anticipated ears. As if pulling forth a body with song, Adams' solo became a duet as Tony Johnson ascends from the back of the theater space to the stage. In a long white robe tied at the waist, he filled the space with suspended movement followed by quick bursts of gestural play.
Jody Cassell presented the first video offering of the evening, entitled The Space Between You & Me. Retelling her story about the passing of a loved one, images dance on the screen from Cassell's spoken form to her movement form nested in a cocooned blanket. The work takes an interesting twist as projected images became real. Returning later in the program in The Space Between Me & You, Cassell brought along a family of rubber duckies. She invited us to consider the relationship between Cassell and this reminiscent bath time family.
Leah Wilks' Stitch took viewers through the multiplicity of the word stitch. Her movements appeared to reconcile something — open, close. Ballet movements transform into a frenzy, only to be collected again into something else — humor, unrest? Heavy beats reverberated through our feet and into our chest until music and lights fade. Wilks remains in the darkness, accompanied by her breath and glimpses of movement that appear tossed and thrown away.
Melissa Pihos graced the stage in Dear Dad, a dance and documentary film that journeys through a father-daughter relationship as the father battles Alzheimer's. With nostalgic photo and film clips, this touching presentation compels us to reevaluate our relationships with loved ones as time or disease seem to deteriorate our connections. What remains?
Outlined in a hooped skirt and decorative head brace Jody Cassell returned to improvise The Space Between. It is pensive and provoking. She confronts us to think about the who we are and the characters we play. My First Imaginary Dance concluded the evening. With minimal movement, Idelle Packer entices us to imagine dance. She sends us on an imaginative journey through her dance, and we are tasked to imagine and perceive the spectacle as it is meant to be for us. The true nature and perception possibilities of dance are found in our imagination.
Encompassing a variety of artistic mediums, Sscapes offers a collection of emotionally driven works. They are thoughtful and reflective. It is inspiring to see the stage filled with a seasoned generation of movers, artists, and thinkers. Their experience is clearly reflected in their pose, presence, and genuine artistic investment.