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dance: Modern on the Move

Two modern dance companies help put Richmond's dance community on the map.


Where these choreographers find the impetus for their work is as varied as the persons themselves. In Starr Foster's new work, "Monster in the Closet," she easily points to its motivation, her 4-year-old daughter. "She's always talking about monsters," Foster explains, "always searching for where they may be hiding." The search to shed light upon fear appears in the work as miners' lights strapped to the dancers' heads, the constantly moving beams of illumination both concealing and revealing their frenzied movement.

Lively, fanciful and intricately detailed movements appear in the Dance Project's encore performance of "Alice," based on "Alice in Wonderland," It has undergone a small transformation and will also be a part of this fall's concert. Although the choreography remains unchanged, dancers have switched roles since "Alice's" last showing, resulting in them taking greater risks. "I don't know what happened," explains the baffled Foster. "The dancers are blowing me away. The piece is much more rich and bold."

Foster has kept her company busy, with several concerts since this summer. Despite a crazed schedule where she is "constantly playing catch-up," she has managed yet another new work for this show, "Mirror, Mirror," a quintet that explores commitment and trust.

Ground Zero, the other exclusively modern dance group in town, often rotates featuring one member's work per concert. However, this year, the fall show features four members' choreography, as well as work by guest artist Julie Mayo. Victoria Fink, whose movements balance vigor with pauses and well-articulated phrases, with ease explores the mind/body duality in "Polarity." Rob Petres has reworked the tightly tethered duet "Harness," originally presented for Steve's House Dance Collective. Pam England offers her comical and lighthearted "Heartaches by the Number" and also appears in Tommy Parlon's quirky solo. A quartet of dancers appear in Mayo's "Closer."

Both companies already have subsequent concerts in the works, Ground Zero's show coming as early as mid-December. Between these two companies, the Richmond Ballet, Virginia Commonwealth University's dance department, and Kay Weinstein Gary who produces "Yes, Virginia - Dance!," Richmond is proving to be an active center for dance. New York, once considered the locus, better watch out. S

Ground Zero Dance Company's fall concert will take place at the Grace Street Theatre Oct. 25-26 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15 adults, $10 students. Call 353-9774

Starr Foster Dance Project's fall performance at the Grace Street Theatre runs Oct. 31, Nov. 1-2 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15 adults, $12 students. Call 343-3612

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