Above: from “Deciduous Urge” dancers Marissa Quimby & Philip Borunda, choreographed by Rainbow Fletcher (image © Bret Doss Photography 2013)
Coriolis Dance Co-LAB 5
Coriolis Dance was founded five years ago by directors Natascha Greenwalt and Christin Call, and is noteworthy not only for profoundly talented dancers and choreographers, but also for being a company of dancers that choose and/or create for themselves the pieces they perform. I was privileged to photograph not only the dress rehearsal for the 5th anniversary performance by the Coriolis Dance Collective here in Seattle, but also fortunate enough to shoot behind the scenes and from the wings during the performances. This has been on my photographic bucket list for ages: I won’t cross it off, though, because now that I am doing it I never want to stop!
All of the dancers have been welcoming and accommodating, as has the tremendously talented and dedicated staff of the Erickson Theater. To be able to shoot the full dress rehearsal from front row center (or anywhere else I wanted) was a terrific gift. Lurking in the wings with my camera during the performances (being careful about the shutter release sound during the quiet moments) is pure fun–though it can get warm hovering near the hot lights (staying very near them assures that I am not in the way, particularly in the case of dancers exiting the stage at high speed).
The lighting design by Ahren Buhmann of the Erickson is superb, adding the perfect amount of drama, whimsy, energy to the choreography (and, luckily for me, also to my images!).
I offer my gratitude to Marissa Quimby and Natascha Greenwalt for the initial contact & invitation to photograph Coriolis Dance, as well as to each dancer and theater team member for the warmth & cooperation which made my experience all the more positive and the images all the more possible.
While I am not qualified to review dance, I can offer my thoughts about the experience. For my part, perhaps the highest praise I can offer is this: throughout all of the performances, each of the pieces, each dancer, each choreographer, and all of the music (I want the playlist) had me wanting to put the camera down and simply experience the moment while simultaneously never wanting to lower the camera, never wanting an end.
“Deciduous Urge” (picture above), choreographed by Rainbow Fletcher, closes the show. To me it was mysterious, energetic, and slightly, sneakily sinister in the most engaging way. Though when dancers wearing black knit ski masks appear suddenly, silently next to me in the shadows of the wings, I feel the urge to hand over my camera & wallet while whispering “I don’t want any trouble….” It is a killer of a closer: power, finesse, intensity, subtlety, loud, quiet, dark, bright — eight dancers as one, and each with time to shine. If you don’t leap to your feet, then you haven’t been paying attention.
This piece, ‘The gentle abduction of Esther Williams” was endlessly fascinating to me, featuring semi-improvisational dance by Christin Call, and improvisational humorous monologue by Jackie An. On more than one occasion, each of their performances forced me to stifle laughter (which would be exceedingly unprofessional if one is in the wings mere feet away).
Andrea Larreta’s “Depicting Verbs” is a dramatic & silent piece, merging sign language with contemporary dance which draws the audience into the emotional experience of failed communication. The audience reacts with complete, self-imposed, breathless silence, which further reinforces Andrea’s fervent longing to bridge the gulf.
The excerpt from “try to hover” is an intriguingly beautiful, moving, and melancholy piece featuring Christin Call and Joel Myers. Even with the insulating distance afforded by the viewfinder, I could not have avoided the impact of this piece had I wanted to do so.
Read the reviews:
all images/content © Bret Doss, all rights reserved