Putting on the Finishing Steps 

Balance Dance Company shares 'Works in Progress'

Balance Dance Company's "Works in Progress" promises an excellent spring performance.

Anne Cirillo

Balance Dance Company's "Works in Progress" promises an excellent spring performance.

The teenage women and men stretched, leaped and somersaulted as the audience of mostly parents filed into seats at the Danny Peterson Theater in the Morrison Center on Jan. 10. It was the performance of Balance Dance Company's "Works in Progress" and while the dancers performed calisthenics in practiced, focused motions, the bleachers hummed with the kind of anxiety only eager, proud parents can produce.

Parental tension was at its peak when BDC Artistic Director Leah Stephens Clark took the stage, explaining what the afternoon's performance entailed. These "Works in Progress" were just that: the unfinished content of the upcoming BDC spring performances, March 5-7. The dancers and Clark's corps of choreographers had been working on these six pieces since October and though the degree to which the dancers had attained mastery of their dances remained uneven, the fruits of their labors were already competitive to that of similar contemporary and modern dance companies in the Treasure Valley.

"We do have the luxury of process that maybe many dance companies don't," Clark told the audience.

BDC opened the afternoon performance with "Outside the Lines," choreographed by Molly Heller and set to "Cracklin' Rosie" by Neil Diamond and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising." The dancers' mechanical opening movements melted into rhythm with the music in a visualization of the classic tunes' infectious beats. Rhythmic movements made way for repeating motions copied and riffed upon by the dancers. Maya Garabedian, a senior at Boise High School and a longtime BDC dancer, said that Heller described the piece to her as "like you're doing really bad hip-hop in your bedroom."

Prior to intermission, the company performed what is likely to be a standout in the March performance. "On Memory," choreographed by Amanda Micheletty, illustrated memory formation, change and loss in three sections. Prior to each section, dancers briefly described what features of memory would be demonstrated for the audience's benefit, though these vignettes will be absent from the spring show. When asked why by a parent, Micheletty seemed to waver: Do contemporary dance and spoken exposition mix? Would this dance be more accessible with spoken roles?

BDC is on the eve of "graduating" (Clark's term) some of its talent. But it has depth far beyond its company dancers in Balance 2, which performed "One Twenty Five," by former BDC member Ciera Shaver. Styled as "movement for movement's sake," Shaver's piece was structured without being rigid, and set to music of her own editing. It was an ideal forum for some of BDC's upcoming talent as some of its veteran dancers prepare to graduate from high school and leave their parents' nests.

Balance Dance Company's "Works In Progress" promise an excellent spring performance.

Balance Dance Co. Visit balancedance.org for more information and tickets to the March performances.

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