Helen Keller’s story has fascinated and inspired for years. People are intrigued by the woman that overcame her loss of the two most prominent human senses. In Perception, presented by MoCo Dance Alliance, Choreographers Alexandra Schools, Jamie Doughty, and Shaila Isham use dance as a vehicle to explore the unique way Keller experienced the world.
The show is divided into seven choreographic sections, each dealing with a different aspect of Keller’s sensory experience. The company consists of five young women, who dance for the majority of the 50-minute show. All five women are strong and compelling dancers, though at times stylistic differences detract from the overall synchronicity of the group numbers.
The show finds its strength in the solos and duets that occur throughout the program. Jamie Doughty commands the stage in “Unseen Part 1” where she is blindfolded for the entirety of the piece. Deprived of vision, Doughty finds a heightened kinesthetic relationship with the space around her. Shaila Isham brings fluidity and grace to her solo “Untouched Part 1,” which alludes to Keller’s early connection with water. Tiffani Thomas and Andrea D’Annunzio are extremely well paired physically and stylistically in “Courage & Fear.” Thomas joins Daughty for the duet “Curious” in which each woman explores the bounds of a bright red scarf. Between the airiness of the scarves, the bright red backdrop, and the bright red leotards, this is a visually stunning number.
The large stage and top-notch technical setup at the Lang Theatre do great service to this already compelling show. The lighting design is lovely and varied, every change in lighting is its own piece of art. Each section is underscored with instrumental music that aids in setting the tone. Perhaps the highlight of the music selections is hearing actual words of Helen Keller read over the speakers during “Unseen Part 2” as the company dances.
MoCo Dance Alliance has put together a thoughtful and never too literal show based around a strong and inspiring woman. Kinesthetically, audibly, and visually appealing, it is sure to tingle all of your senses.
Perception is playing through Sunday, July 7, 2016, at MoCo Dance Alliance performing at Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Lang Theatre – 1333 H Street NE, in Washington, DC. For tickets call (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.
Check other reviews and show previews on DCMetroTheaterArts’ 2016 Capital Fringe Page.
RATING: BEST OF THE 2016 CAPITAL FRINGE!