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dance: Sharing the Stage

Ground Zero Dance Company promotes collaboration in its spring concert.


The troupe's spring concert includes two premieres and an eclectic program that combines modern dance with a chamber-music concert and — why not? — a poetry reading. England says she organized the program to tap into new audiences and to promote communication among artists working in Richmond.

"It's really easy in this city for the different arts to get secluded," England says. "They don't intermingle and that seems a shame to me. Since we seem to work in isolation, it would be nice to communicate more and have more crossing the lines between the art forms."

England will premiere "Pillars," a work by four women set to Martin Tillman and Tom Vedick's violin and cello duet, "Rue Sibelius." Ostensibly, this work explores the emotional and architectural implications of pillars — an unusual premise, England admits. The theme is reflected in the set design of four columns created out of stretch fabric that will surround the stage. With a haunting musical score and backdrop that pays tribute to classical architecture, her dancers with their sinuous, purposeful movements resemble performers at the Pantheon.

Tommy Parlon, Ground Zero's artistic associate, will premiere "Low Sun," a trio by two women and a man set to Greig's "Lyric Suite No.1." Parlon says his work is "just something pretty that celebrates the beauty in life — simple enough." Rounding out the program will be repertory pieces " Just Jump," a duet created by England, Parlon's "Come Closer" and his solo, "Clouds."

Violinist Laura Roelofs, cellists Teresa Bjornes and Armistead Wellsford, and pianist Charles Staples constitute the chamber orchestra that will be sharing the stage with the dancers. England insists on live music for the company's concerts, enjoying the spontaneity and immediacy it brings. In turn, all the of musicians will perform solos of their own. Dancer Lea Marshall also will pull double duty, dancing and reading selections of her poetry throughout the evening.

With such a jam-packed program, England says it was difficult to organize. "It was a process of near-misses," she says. "Things would start to come together and then one piece would fall out, and it would all dissolve." Scheduling woes aside, England believes it was the spirit of collaboration that kept everything moving forward. "It's the people involved that is holding it all together," she says. "Everyone is very talented at what they do, so the concert is bound to be lovely." S

Ground Zero Dance Company performs its spring concert at the McVey Theater at St. Catherine's School May 16 and 17, 8 p.m. Tickets, $12 at the door/$6 students. For more information call 353-9774.

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