They’ve danced in water, scaled some of the city’s tallest buildings and performed on the steps of the State Capitol.
Now Of Moving Colors is returning to the Manship Theatre to finish out its 2013-14 “Color Me Rouge” season with its celebration of Baton Rouge, “Currant/Current.”
The production runs for two performances Friday and Saturday, June 13-14, in the Manship Theatre. And though it’s definitely a tribute to the capital city, it’s also a study.
The contemporary dance theater company has put together a series of dances that examine all aspects of its hometown, from a lighthearted take on traffic to a deeply poignant look at the city’s diverse population.
And all will play out on the backdrop of photographs by David Humphries and Frank McMains.
“The show’s title derives from ideas of what Baton Rouge is today,” says Artistic Director Garland Goodwin Wilson. “‘Currant,’ of course, for the red hue that defines our city’s name, and ‘current’ to represent a slice of contemporary Baton Rouge.”
Of Moving Colors performed a similar show in 1998, focusing on the history.
“This year, we’re looking through a microscope,” Wilson says. “We’re taking our audiences on a journey through the experiences of the city. It’s more about how people navigate the city on a daily basis, how they interact and the connections they make along the way.”
The performance wraps up a special year for Of Moving Colors, which has used the city as its stage, from the State Capitol to Tiger Stadium to cane fields.
“In the last nine months, aside from our traditional theatre performances, Of Moving Colors has presented two major site-specific works out in the city and created new media projects highlighting the landmarks of our community,” Wilson says.
And it all culminates on the Manship stage in “Currant/Current.”
The show was put together by a group of choreographers, both within and outside the company. Company dancers also became choreographers, all offering their own take on the city.
Alexandra Barbier’s work, for instance, was inspired by porch life in the Garden District. Christine Chrest created a work about how people alter their behavior when others are looking, and Marlon Grigsby worked with Emily Roy on weather themes, particularly summer humidity.
“It’s such a fun process to delve into the experiences of Baton Rouge with another choreographer and realize that, as natives, we have so many similar memories, even if they do revolve around the crazy humid heat and habitual downpours,” Roy says.
Courtney Landry created three works based on the city’s traffic problems; Bethany Jones McCullough looked at themes of water, transition and time; and Sandra Parks adapted the dance “Code Red” for the stage. The dance originally was created for the company’s earlier State Capitol steps performance.
Finally, Irene Rampino reconstructed “Summer,” a dance she created in 2008. The piece features two giant box fans. And Wilson created dances inspired by a person’s perspective as he or she navigates the city
“The piece in the final segment will be different variations on a theme,” Wilson says. “And all the dances are performed to beautiful sounds, everything from classical to contemporary to gospel, from Philip Glass to Mavis Staples.”
It all comes together in a celebration that paints the city rouge.
- CAST: Dancers — Amanda Arostegui, Will Bove, Alyseia Darby, Maddie Drago, Stephanie Faucette, Marlon Grigsby, Courtney Landry, Craig Messina, Larry Montelongo, Rebekah Prudhomme, Emily Roy, Muriel Santana, Rebecca Sawyer, Harlee Trautman, Associate Director Carrie Cliburn; Guest dancers — Alexandra Barbier, Leigh Jennings, Anna Schwab; Choreographers — Alexandra Barbier, Christine Chrest, Marlon Grigsby, Courtney Landry, Bethany Jones McCullough, Sandra Parks, Iren Rampino, Emily Roy and Artistic Director Garland Goodwin Wilson; and Photographers — David Humphries, Frank McMains.