In out of the way places, as well as in big cities, dance struggles to stay alive. As a modern dancer in New York, I watched studios, even prestigious troupes like Alvin Ailey, get priced out of their rent, moving from location to location. The Creamery in Arcata has long been a center for dance in Humboldt as different directors and groups have valiantly worked to make dance happen in the Emerald Triangle.
With the help of Ink People, a young, energetic dancer, Lindsay Bonds, has resurrected the Two Left Feet Dance Project, originally created in 1991 by Bonnie Hossack, former director of the defunct Dancenter, a Creamery space that was reopened as Redwood Raks by Shoshanna of Middle Eastern dance fame. It is no easy task to pull off the type of evening-length showcase that Two Left Feet promotes. Unique about the project: its community-based structure. The works are not juried. Emergent and experienced choreographers are given equal opportunity to present their dances, which run the gamut from modern to ballet to ethnic and popular dance.
A lot of dances. A lot of hard work. A lot of committed performances. And a full house!
Bonds' expressive, pliable body swooned succulently with the smooth partnering of Brett Finta in Hossack's Take 2. Full of archetype and nuance, the dance played like a Broadway duet to Etta James' "At Last," making me want more when it was over - but, therein lies the genius of Hossack's wit: It wasn't over -- the music repeated in a backward distortion as the dance repeated backwardly. The dancers had to find the lilt of the movement without the melody to carry them, their bodies had to think without the appearance of thinking -- ah, the genius of modern dance. Such a satisfying experience.
No Air, choreographed by 11-year-old Jolie Hossack and danced lyrically by Hossack and young dancers Harmony Sorter and Jordan Sparks, displayed a mature sense of spatial relationship. My 10-year-old son deemed it "Short, but awesome."
Lisa Townsend-Schmitt's Elements was a hilarious lark with a talented cast spoofing the ’70s to Earth, Wind and Fire. A sublime moment came in Heather Sorter's Here First, when Finta and Lindsey Myers lay prone, Finta's hand reaching for her leg, pulling himself beside her on the floor, luscious to watch as was the dancing of Susie Kidd, Lela Annotto and Julie Geary.
Eastern Trinity, presented by the Fire and Isis Dance Collective, along with the glorious Super Taranta! by the Ya Habibi company were deliciously modern takes on traditional bellydance forms. Along with Melanie Quinn's artistic use of hoops in her duet, Motion of the Spheres, these groups of gorgeous performers are onto something mystical and timeless that is becoming a hallmark of Humboldt dance.