Alone in darkness, save a vertical sliver of light, a dark-suited man moves fitfully, hunched forward, his arms held close. He whips them around and whirls to the floor, as an ominous melody hovers like a drone over deep, insistent drumbeats. They strike at his very essence, like a giant mechanized force trying to beat the humanity out of him.
The solo is part of “Dust,” choreographed by Hofesh Shechter, whose raw, visceral style of choreography lives in company repertoires ranging from the Israeli artist’s Brighton-based troupe to England’s Royal Ballet to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Shechter’s is one of several nationally and internationally recognized voices in contemporary dance that will appear in a new performance season at Kennesaw State University’s Dance Theater in Marietta.
The KSU Dance Theater Board plans to announce the series on Sunday.
As part of the series, BodyTraffic, a Los Angeles-based dance repertory company, will perform “Dust” next March alongside two more Atlanta premieres by Israeli choreographers. Other season highlights include performances by Spellbound Contemporary Ballet from Rome, as well as Atlanta Ballet 2, KSU Dance Company and Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. Also as part of the season, KSU is partnering with Georgia State University’s Rialto to present the fourth “Off the Edge” dance festival, which will announce additional performing groups this summer.
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When the renovated theater opened last spring, KSU dance department chair Ivan Pulinkala envisioned the dance-dedicated venue not only for KSU’s fast-growing dance program, but also for local artists to show work. Pulinkala also saw the theater’s potential for presenting artists from outside of Atlanta. And since Atlanta Ballet is producing more classical and classically based ballets, KSU’s new contemporary dance series helps fill an open niche in the arts community.
The Dance Theater helped embolden five former Atlanta Ballet dancers to form Terminus, which performed there last month, following after KSU Dance Company and the Georgia Ballet. Last fall, Israel’s Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company was the first internationally acclaimed troupe to grace the theater’s permanently installed sprung Marley floor.
This coming fall, the theater will host Spellbound Contemporary Ballet in the U.S. premiere of “Full Moon,” choreographed by the company’s founding director, Mauro Astolfi. The work draws inspiration from notions that the moon, with its gravitational pull on tides as well as body fluids, may influence the human body and spirit as well as behavior.
In a rehearsal video, dancers move with urgency and abandon. With deep human expression, they enfold one another, grasping, embracing and reaching out. It’s a compelling style and approach that Pulinkala hopes will inspire growth in Atlanta’s increasingly energized dance scene.
“I think this will add another dimension,” Pulinkala said. “It brings another voice into the marketplace of ideas and art-making in Atlanta.”
KSU Dance Theater 2018-19 season lineup
Aug. 24-25, 2018: Atlanta Ballet 2 and KSU Dance Company
Oct. 12-13, 2018: Spellbound Contemporary Ballet
Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2018: KSU Dance Company in faculty works.
Feb. 28, 2019: Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre will share a double bill with a nationally ranked guest company as part of Off the Edge festival presented in partnership with Georgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts.
March 27, 2019: BodyTraffic presents Hofesh Shechter’s “Dust” and other Atlanta premieres.
April 26-27, 2019: KSU adjudicated student choreography concert.
Performances will take place at KSU Dance Theater, 1100 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta.
Tickets will go on sale July 1 at the KSU box office (arts.kennesaw.edu).