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dance: On Point

A new, young dance company crosses over.


When Godfrey formed Pulse in September, she wanted to provide "an environment for dancers and choreographers to explore provocative and challenging work," she says. As a former Richmond Ballet company member, Godfrey has a strong classical background enriching her approach to other dance forms. She commutes to Fredericksburg several days a week to teach at Mary Washington College and rehearse with seven of her students, with whom she formed the Collective.

"I just had to start working with these kids," Godfrey says. "They were coming into my class, and I couldn't believe that they weren't dance majors or working in companies."

Pulse now consists of eight women, all students or recent graduates of Mary Washington where Godfrey has been working for the last two years.

Most of the dancers were classically trained as children and adolescents, and have recently been adding different dance techniques, such as modern, to their repertoire. In addition to technical training, however, Godfrey "encourages the dancers to contribute to the choreography, fine-tuning their craft" in anticipation of creating their own work. Five of the seven pieces in "Broken Things" were choreographed by Godfrey, but she seems eager to foster the creative impulse in her dancers and to pave the way for their work.

After a November 2002 debut in Fredericksburg, Godfrey began working to bring Pulse to Richmond. When she saw a concert of choreography by Ruth Naomi Feinblum at the Firehouse a couple of years ago, Godfrey began to think that the venue could work for dance. "I like the feel of it, the intimacy, because the audience is so close," she says. Plus, renting the theater is affordable — an important consideration since Godfrey is funding Pulse out of her own pocket.

Among the works she has choreographed for this weekend's show, Godfrey is most excited about "Descend," a 20-minute piece in which five dancers treat the floor as a foreign environment and move through a set of chairs and ladders. Also on Pulse's program is "Disoriented," a modern trio choreographed by Katie Jantzi and "Fire Eaters," a modern group piece set to music by Fourtet Pause and choreographed by Sarah Pac. Other choreography by Godfrey includes "Broken Things," a contemporary pointe piece set to the music of David Byrne, and "Craft," a hip-hop solo set to Pilote.

With a diverse repertoire and a core group of talented young dancers, Pulse Dance Collective promises an engaging evening of dance that just might combust the small stage at the Firehouse. S

Pulse Dance Collective's "Broken Things and Other Stories" takes place Feb. 7 - 8 at Firehouse Theater, 1609 W. Broad St., at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 at the door. Call 350-3063.

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