HARTFORD — Dimensional Dance presented a live in-studio production titled “Remember Me,” made up of distinct performances, connected to each other by Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) theme of celebrating the lives of those who have passed and the awareness of the cyclical nature of life, according to an email from the group. A unique dialog was presented through different movement styles such as krump (hiphop), traditional and contemporary ballet, and traditional Mexican dance. The red, purple and black costumes were expertly matched with custom-designed masks featuring skeletons created by #abearwiththumbs_.
The production opened with Krump & Black Swan featuring seemingly opposite dance styles — hiphop and ballet — set to the music of female classical composer Jessie Montgomery. This collaborative piece was choreographed by hiphop dancer JuS Hues of Just Moves Studio, Dimensional Dance Principal Artist Matisse Madden, and Director Ruth Lewis. Starting with a call and response of fluid swan-like ballet and locking krump style arms moves, the dance finished in a frenzy of movement to the dynamic contemporary and classical music.
Special guest dance artist Tere Luna, who is Mexican American, addressed the audience and described the cultural traditions of Día de los Muertos, the significance of her dance moves and costume. Luna’s dances, Las Chiapanecas and Jarabe Tapatio featured bright flowing Mexican skirts and traditional dances from two different regions in Mexico along with interactive audience participation. Luna explained that the holiday was an inspiring tradition celebrating the life, not the death, of ancestors.
Guest dancer Rorey Fraser also shared stories from his youth, about growing up with a Mexican American mother and grandmother and his remembrances of Day of the Dead. Fraser and Madden danced a version of the Grand Pas Deux from “The Nutcracker,” bedecked in black costumes and purple skull masks.
Dancer Chloë Knopf followed with Con Brio a bravura piece set to music from noted Connecticut composer Sharon Ruchman and her group Sonoro. This was a technically challenging piece with multiple turns, leaps and the incredible hinge to the floor all done in pointe shoes.
“Bee Mercurial,” created by Hartford resident and Dimensional Dance member Savana Jones and Ruth Lewis, holds a special significance to Lewis, since her family has raised honeybees for three generations. The piece brought to light the lamentable issue of bee colony collapse. Yet in a surprising ending, two children in bee protective jackets (Cora Glauber and Rockwell Madden, the next generation of beekeepers) ran onto the stage to save the honeybees.
“Venus,” danced by Dimensional Dance Principal Artist Matisse Madden as well as Pam Glauber and Erica Maillet, is an other-worldly dance choreographed by Ruth Lewis and evocative of the flowing movement of the atmosphere of Venus and set to Holst’s “Venus” from “The Planets.”
The program ended with the last movement of the company’s signature piece, “O Squared,” a contemporary ballet choreographed by director Ruth Lewis and inspired by the painting “Operetta” by Barbara Grossman.
Dimensional Dance is known locally for its evocative and interactive performances, showcasing professional dancers from a variety of dance backgrounds including breakdancing, contemporary, jazz, and ballet. The company includes dancers living in Connecticut with a wide variety of dance backgrounds, from classical to contemporary.
Dimensional Dance was established in 2011 by director Ruth Lewis to inspire and educate through and about dance. The company focuses on artistically presented educational and creative content through a variety of dance genres, and visits schools throughout the state performing and meeting with students. Programs discuss the history of varying styles of dance, as well as bring to life the stories of historical figures.
“I love what I do. I work with people who are dedicated to their craft as artists and athletes,” said Lewis.
For more information visit www.dimensionaldance.com.