Pulses and Rhythms: An evening of eclectic, colorful dance

Music inspires movement. Whether listening to the radio on the way home from work or standing in a crowded concert hall, we all know that music effects the body, and sometimes you just can’t keep still. In an upcoming performance by Center Stage Dance Ensemble, the power of music and movement in the body is explored in a colorful concert appropriately titled Pulses and Rhythms.

Sandra Miller, the ensemble’s choreographer, says: “Whenever I hear music, I can not help seeing it in dance form. I can’t sit through any kind of concert without choreographing in my mind [visualizing] how the music feels in my body. I decided to take different types of music and [find its] resonating movement.” As a professional dancer and teacher, Miller says she finds inspiration in the relationship between music and the body every day — particularly when working with students — and decided to feature this relationship in an eclectic concert of dance.

From ballroom dance to samba, ballet and hip-hip, Pulses and Rhythms explores the many ways that music and movement come together. A cast of sixteen dancers — some in their early teens and others in their late 20s — will perform six acts for the show: each piece establishing a mood through style, dance, music and colorful costumes.

For example, “Ritmo del Baile” (Rhythm of Dance) combines ballet and ballroom dance steps with the rhythms of the salsa, tango, cha-cha and samba. Dancers will be dressed in bright red, orange and fuchsia — colors that promote the feeling of excitement and celebration. The festive mood of “Ritmo del Baile” will be contrasted by the more somber, serious performance of “Arisal of the Clear.”  This piece is a contemporary ballet where two dancers “portray the characteristics of yin and yang,” describes Miller. “Arisal of the Clear” will be accompanied by spiritually driven vocals and a Philip Glass composition.

Pulses and Rhythms will also feature a piece called “Synergy.” This ambitious piece combines ballet and hip-hop together (that’s right — tutus and hoodies on the same stage) with a soundtrack that melds opera with rap.  “[Synergy] is such a fun piece and shows how two totally different approaches [and styles of dance] can be combined to create a product greater than its parts,” Miller says.

With so many different styles of movement incorporated into a single show, Center Stage Dance Ensemble hopes that Pulses and Rhythms will offer something for dance-goers of all kinds. “My belief is that art stirs the senses and my hope is that this show, in its diversity and commonality (music, pulses and movement), will be able to reach and connect with a broad audience.”

Those who saw the Center Stage Dance Ensemble’s What Scares You? (or the “Pumpkin Nutcracker,” as it has been called) can attest to the level of professionalism and tremendous skill of these young dancers. Unlike a full ballet, Pulses and Rhythms offers a greater variety of styles and technique.

Center Stage Dance Ensemble presents Pulses and Rhythms at the Diana Worrtham Theatre on Friday, May 30, and Saturday, May 31, at 8 p.m. $25/ $15 children. www.dwtheatre.com  or 257-4530)

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About Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt
Aiyanna grew up on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. She was educated at The Cambridge School of Weston, Sarah Lawrence College, and Oxford University. Aiyanna lives in Asheville, North Carolina where she proudly works for Mountain Xpress, the city’s independent local newspaper.

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