Last Saturday evening I left my house for the Ashemore Fine Arts Auditorium with a job to do. I was to cover the SWERVE/Dance company’s performance. I didn’t know what to expect at first, contemporary dance is a misunderstood art form. I love the theater and participate in some performance art from time to time myself, so I went in with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised by the show.
Under the artistic direction of Elizabeth Bradford and Lavonne French SWERVE/Dance company brings together many different performers and choreographers to present a neat little package to the audience. SWERVE/Dance has performed from Miami to Houston but is based out of Northwest Florida. The members of SWERVE can be seen performing with numerous theater groups in our greater area.
The first act had more of a classical tone. Tribal music with a feeling of the forest, the dancers swaying and joining in circles to create linear optical illusions with their arms and hands. The performance from the first part that caught my attention was Joan of Arc with accompanying music of Mozart’s Requiem. We see a dramatic struggle of a woman and her faith, having a falling out and then coming back to God. Lacrimosa always touches me.
Then in the second act the audience was treated to some structured improvisation. The group came out and acted out various cliches through interpretative dance, such as tip toeing around, which they called walking on egg shells. After the audience interaction portion we were treated to a dance number from Chicago, All That Jazz/ Hot Honey Rag. The flapper girl costumes and the stage were set to stun. As I said, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised with the SWERVE/Dance company’s performance.