Sole Survivors

Eight visions with a local connection merge on stage

Mar 11, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Small Streams-2, the newest offering from Cincinnati Choreographers’ Collective this weekend at Contemporary Dance Theater’s College Hill Dance Hall, features the diverse work of eight highly regarded choreographers in two full-length evening performances.

Just another reminder that no matter what happens in the world around them, a significant handful of dance artists in Cincinnati stubbornly and successfully hold on to their art and continue to do it honor.

Founder Diane Germaine, who codirects this second annual event with Ka- Ron Brown Lehman, says the collective is devoted to bringing “innovative, provocative and entertaining contemporary dance” to the stage — not to speak of “the brilliant dance artists who live primarily in the Greater Cincinnati area and Ohio.”

Germaine is a longtime Cincinnati presence whose renowned career includes performing as principal soloist of the Paul Sanasardo Dance Company in New York City, choreographing (much for local venues) and teaching. She originally envisioned the Small Streams project as a collection of “small gems — solos, duos, trios — in an intimate concert setting.”

“This time we have a mix of new work and prior work that merits restaging,” she says. “I think we have great people, and each piece is different.”

Brown Lehman, who brought a rich legacyof performning, choreography and teaching when she arrived in Cincinnati in 2007, says, “Diane asked me to come on board after I helped her last year. We jelled — we have the same kinds of ideas, we are both from the ‘old-school’ type of training. We’ve chosen wellrounded, professionally qualified artists. We delight in providing the opportunity for them to reignite all the drive and passion they have put into their careers.”

Germaine and Brown Lehman have also choreographed for the concert.

“My piece is called ‘Missing Items,’ ” Germaine says. “It’s based on my poetry; I read one poem before each of four sections. I cast three dancers, and, of course, there is me — the poet, a dancer who can’t dance.”

Brown Lehman says, “I’m a very social choreographer — I like to visit life-changing situations, political situations, situations that make you think and feel. I noticed that often people here in Cincinnati aren’t that fond of deep and emotional work, they’d rather to be entertained. Yet, I didn’t want to compromise my vision — so, in ‘Bus Stop’ I combined. It happens at a bus stop between a homeless man and a young girl, equally afraid to move forward — to ‘get on the bus,’ if you will — and open up their lives. In this piece, I imagine what will happen if these two can close the ugly doors of the past and move gracefully into the future with kindness and love. In a way, it also kind of revisits my reluctance, when I arrived in Cincinnati, to break out of my comfort zone and move forward.”

Also on the bill is “Leaves of Absence,” a lyrical and romantic contemporary work from founder and director of ballet tech ohio, Claudia Rudolf; Cincinnati native and SCPA grad Amy Seiwert’s “Push,” with former Cincinnati Ballet soloists Jay Goodlett and Tricia Sundbeck (a must-see for many fans of the two); Cleveland’s Lisa Lock in her solo work “Silent Prayer for a Drowning Fish”; a trio from Yellow Springs-based Tricia Gelmini called “My Love is Alive”; Cincinnati tap artist Gloria Esenwein in “What I Kept”; and a provocative solo from Ohio State grad Danah Bella’s “…and still, we must…”

SMALL STREAMS-2, presented by Cincinnati Choreographers’ Collective, takes place 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Contemporary Dance Theater (1805 Larch Ave., North College Hill).