I love drawing parallels between seemingly unrelated things that happen to overlap in my life. When I was in school, I would always find links between the classes I was taking each semester, even when they were in totally different departments. As a Colorado Dance Photographer, I love finding the connections between different performances, dancers, and companies.
A year and a half ago, I was the Photography Intern at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. When Companhia Urbana de Dança and doug elkins choreography, etc. came to perform that summer, I saw so many similarities between their shows. I remember frantically writing them all on my phone the second the show ended, catching them before they left my mind.
These two companies could not be more distant. They speak different languages, have different backgrounds, and come from different hemispheres. Urbana’s dancers come from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, bringing with them a background of street-style, urban dance. The stories they tell through dance come from their lived experiences, from riots to discotecas. doug elkins’s collaborations with costume designers, theater directors, and even a clown, give their pieces a theatrical feel to them. They take inspiration from musicals, classic Shakespeare, and slapstick.
Here are some of the parallels I noticed between the two shows:
- They each used Amy Winehouse’s music (and I love Amy Winehouse’s music).
2. All the dancers wore knee pads because they were doing a lot of floor work.
3. The whole company danced as a group to create one larger entity. This is one of my favorite things to see in a dance performance.
4. Both shows used laughter as well as fear. Each piece was very emotional on both ends of the spectrum.
5. They both used props in a comical way.
6. While neither of them are hip hop companies, there are definitely hip hop influences in both of their shows.
7. Each company performed two pieces and there was a stark contrast between them. One piece was heavy and dark while the other piece was light, fun, and comical. Urbana started their show with the heavier piece while doug elkins’s show started with a lighter piece.
8. With both shows, their use of storytelling was quite impressive and moving.
These parallels were between two dance shows but I encourage you to draw your own parallels between the next show you see and other things going on in your life and the world.
Companhia Urbana de Dança performed I. You. We… All Black! and Na Pista while doug elkins choreography, etc. performed Hapless Bizarre and Mo(or)town Redux.
P.S. I actually got to see Urbana perform again at The Newman Center in Denver last summer!
Want engaging dance portraits for you or your company? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to help tell your story through dance and photography.