Monday, 02 March 2015 00:00

Grand Rapids Ballet's MOVEMEDIA’s Got the Moves

Written by  Allison Parker
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 If you aren’t proud of West Michigan’s performing arts, Grand Rapids Ballet’s MOVEMEDIA is a darn good reason why you should be. A tradition now four years in the running, MOVEMEDIA has earned the company a standout name in the dance community and attracted choreography submissions from five different continents.

MOVEMEDIA I and II are halves of a series featuring contemporary dance numbers that blend technology with modern neoclassical movement. For MOVEMEDIA, contemporary dance is not so much a rejection of traditional movement as much as an emphasis on life experiences, including the choreographers’ personal ones. When constructing a piece, the choreographers strive to create a familiar situation told from a specific point of view. As a result, audiences gain a new understanding of a particular situation or issue after watching each piece.

“What we want the audience to come away with is the idea that they now look at [a situation] from a different perspective or in a different light,” said Artistic Director Patricia Barker. “You can see an artist’s piece of sculpture from one position all the time and just look at but unless you walk around and find the other sides and see the light come through, you’re not looking at it through the light of the sculptor — so this is what we bring — this is what our choreographers do and this is the excitement that our audience feels.”

In order to share each unique vision with the audience, MOVEMEDIA offers its choreographers nearly unlimited artistic freedom in terms of technology and props. Bare bulbs, elaborate projections and even bulky furniture are all fair game. The emphasis is on letting the choreographers have a full arsenal of resources with which to convey meaning as expressively as possible.

While MOVEMEDIA is a performance, it is less of a presentation and more of an inclusion into an artistic discussion. If a particular aspect of a dance sparks curiosity, audience members are encouraged to talk with choreographers, who are often available after the performances. The hope is that the production will not only entertain, but also allow the audience to participate in something that will somehow affect their understanding.

“The one thing that we want the audience to make sure they know is that they are a part of something special—that they’re a part of something that takes them on a journey of some kind, an emotional journey or a sense of awareness, something that awakens in them—it can be thought provoking—something that touches either the past, the present or what they think of for something in the future,” Barker said.

Grand Rapids Ballet Company, Peter Martin Wege Theatre, Grand Rapids

March 13-15, 2 & 7:30 p.m.

Program II:
April 16 and 17, 7:30 p.m., April 19, 2 p.m.

Tickets $12–25, (616) 454-4771


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