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Amazingly wonderful performances at SFDI
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Amazingly wonderful performances at SFDI

by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Seattle Festival
of Dance Improvisation
August 7-8
Broadway
Performance Hall


At the end of last weekend's SFDI (Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation), an annual dance festival that brings together stellar local talents and up-and coming-dancers in a weeklong explosion of workshops, dance recitals and public performances, I sat scratching my head.

Unfortunately, not having my date du jour (as last Saturday was a work night for my partner), I could not turn to her and go "honey, what was that, and is it okay for us to leave now?" So, I turned to the couple next to me and they okayed my exit from Broadway Performance Hall, where the performance took place both Friday and Saturday nights.

I don't want it to seem that the final piece was in any way something I didn't enjoy. (Imagine a large number of dancers who just get up from the audience and go onto the stage at the prompting of the hostess for the night, Lila Hurwitz. At times it just seemed like ordinary folks interrupting the program in progress.) It's just that the ending took me by surprise. And truly, that is a good thing, even a bit refreshing, though it was something I wasn't prepared for. Still, watching the improvisational movements - including at one point a shredding of an SGN paper by another "audience member," who was really one of the dancers in the audience - was at times funny, and yet I felt like a control freak who had the rug pulled out from under her.

The first piece for the evening, "Together," performed by two female dancers was a little more orderly, though it still had that fresh, raw edge that prevailed in this, a most dazzling evening of dance. Coming second, "Walking In Istanbul," seemed to speak to the condition of aging (as it was danced by a single, older female dancer) and that human experience called memory. This was a lush piece that I particularly enjoyed as I am older myself.

But aside from a moment of uncertainty that came with a piece that charged the audience with creating an end to the "Faculty Improv" performance, I loved this program of sparkling talent, particular that of French dancer Benoit Lachamre, who danced to silence while holding a CD player and wearing headphones. The end of that piece, where he let the audience hear that he'd been listening to Janice Joplin's cover of "Summertime," was absolutely mouth-watering, and at times it was funny, too.

At the end of the evening, although feeling I should have stayed longer to see what came next or maybe mingled a bit with the dancers (who by then were leaving the stage - something that happened so seamlessly, it felt like part of the improv dance), I bounded out into the night, swinging my black hips down the street, happy to have witnessed such amazingly wonderful performances - that conclusion I came to without having anyone to ask but myself.

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