A roller coaster made a stop at the Capitol Theatre Thursday afternoon. The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company performed (for a special critics' viewing) the season- ending program, "Under Construction."
The ride came in two parts. The first was the overall feel of the performance. The different styles, techniques and delivery of the dances ranged from tango and character steps to abstract aerobics, campy humor and provoking realism.The second was in Ming-Lung Yang's Salt Lake premiere "Wheel of Hearts."
This work, which was inspired by the ups, downs and loops of the amusement park attraction, had the dancers spinning, tumbling and twirling on and off the stage. By off, I mean, literally, in the air.
Strong lifts, well-timed leaps and rhythmic breathing were all essential aspects of this work, which focused on relationship trials.
Opening the whole performance was co-artistic director Joan Woodbury's "L'Invasion." Dancers did the tango, waltz and other stylish dance steps to the live acoustic guitars of Paul Binkley and Todd Woodbury. However, as the work rolled on, the underlining message of society's ills - spouse, child and substance abuse, home-less-ness and the struggle to keep the family intact - unwound in smart and provocative moves.
The humor of the afternoon came with Janis Brenner's "Non-Sinatra Songs." The work is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to Twyla Tharp's "Nine Sinatra Songs."
The dancing always stood on the energetic side of things, although there were some times when the humor seemed a little forced. Still, it was fun to see the melodramatic ballroom steps during Sinatra tunes as sung by Lou Reed, Pia Zadora, Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones and the Sex Pistols, just to name a few.
Winding up the production was RW's revivals of Creach/Koester's "Ascension II." The mechanical work based on the workings of society intertwined looping moves, strong stances, near-misses and high kicks to get the visuals across. Interaction and consequence emerged throughout the abstract and sometimes jarring moves.