The Harris Theater for Music and Dance presents Brian Brooks Moving Company as part of their happy hour Mix at Six series.
Brian Brooks is a New York based choreographer whose company, Brian Brooks Moving Company, has performed at BAM Next Wave Festival, Jacobs Pillow, American Dance Festival, and NY City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival. Last year, Brooks became the first Choreographer in Residence at the Harris Theater. As part of this innovative three-year fellowship the Harris commissioned three news works by Brooks, the first performed last year by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the second this year by Brook’s own company, and the third to be created in the 2018-19 season for Miami City Ballet (Program Notes).
The Mix at Six Series presented three works by Brooks, including one world premiere. The pieces exemplified Brooks continuous and fluid dance style while incorporating props and live music along the way.
The evening begins with “Division,” choreographed by Brooks in 2015 set to music by Jerome Begin. As the lights come up the dancers, dressed in all white, appear in a straight line holding large white rectangular pieces of cardboard.
These white tiles soon become the emphasis of the work. The dancers move as if they are restricted by the tiles, sliding them along the floor moving only in linear patterns. The tiles act as walls between the individual dancers themselves, and the floor, blocking dancers in to confined spaces. The tiles become another limb of the dancers body, an extension of the body into space.
In “Division,” the dancers become in-human, embodying shapes or molecules moving around in space, creating patterns and pathways with no emotions or interpersonal connections involved.
The company’s second piece “Prelude,” is a world premiere commissioned by the Harris Theater. The piece begins with Pianist, David Friend, alone on stage lit by a large angular lighting fixture hanging from the theater rafters. As he plays the audience begins to notice a dimly lit table and chairs at the back of the stage. Dancers slowly make their way on stage to the table and chairs, sliding on and off chairs and each other.
“Prelude” continues with various solos by different company members, the music shifting to become less classical and more mysterious and alien-like with every solo.
As the piece continues the audience may notice the subtle changes in lighting as the lighting fixture moves and shifts angles to direct the attention to different parts of the stage; the piano, the upstage table and chairs, or the dancers gliding across the stage surface.
“Torrent,” choreographer in 2013, is the final piece of the evening, set to Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” recomposed by Max Richter. The piece shows all eight company dancers moving fluidly and continuously, as if they are an ever-flowing river. The dancers wear earth tones and the piece evokes a sense of nature, making it seem as if this piece could be performed in a meadow or the middle of the forest.
The company also performed a second program at the Harris Theater as part of the Exelon Family Series on Saturday, January 13. The program was the first-ever sensory friendly performance at the Harris Theater.
About the Author:
Hayley Ross graduated from Ohio University in 2016 with degrees in Dance and Journalism. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Hayley began dancing at the age of four. She has studied Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz, Contemporary, and African dance and regularly can be found taking dance and Pilates at Chicago's Lou Conte Dance Studio. Hayley has completed internships at CityScene Media Group, OhioDance, the Chautauqua Institution, and American Dance Festival. She currently works in the Marketing department at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as the Communication Coordinator. Learn more about Hayley at hayleyross.weebly.com