What People Are Saying

Dancer: Mary Clymene/ Photo by Matthew Simatov

Voted ‘Best Dance Troupe’

2008 ◊ 2009 ◊ 2010

Best Of Orlando Weekly

Voci Dance is proud to announce that, for the third year, a Reader’s Poll from the Orlando Weekly voted our company as the “Best Dance Troupe in Orlando!”

Thanks to Everyone who voted in this new category!

November 2009: Orlando Sentinel Article

The Games We Play
November 2009 Review
Diane Hubbard Burns
Dance Critic, Orlando Sentinel

Orlando is lucky to have Voci Dance

The company has its hits and misses but always gives audiences something to talk — and think — about

It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since I watched Voci dancers bound off mini-trampolines in a piece that seemed part Charlie Chaplin, part Martha Graham, part Cirque du Soleil. Six years is a long time in the life of a modern dance troupe that gets by on fervor, creativity and … well, fervor and creativity.

Despite an oft-changing cast of dancers, Voci has stuck vigorously to its mission of bringing original modern dance to Central Florida. At Friday’s opening of the company’s 10th season – continuing Saturday and Sunday at the jewel box-like Garden Theatre in Winter Garden — it continues to prick the bubble of our preconceptions about dance. You may find yourself – as we did – exploring the “what is art?” question all the way home and beyond.

Sometimes Voci is edgy in a fun way, such as Adrienne Nichols’ Tag. Five dancers occupy the corners and center of a pitch-black stage. As a spotlight picks them out one by one, they jump into the air, twirl around, and seem to hurl the light, as if it were a ball, to a dancer across the stage. The dancer in the center, not lit till near the end, covers her eyes and counts aloud – she’s it, and missing out on the high jinks all around her. (Kudos to the precise lighting by Erika Kurtz.)

Sometimes Voci pricks our preconceptions in less comfortable ways. Tampa Bay choreographer Elsa Valbuena’s Punta de Partida (”Starting Point”) opens with a silent scream. Rokaya Mikhailenko slowly pivots toward the audience, unfurls her arms, leans toward us from the waist and opens her mouth in a universal sign of anguish. The two women who flank her in chairs (Lisa Mie and McClaine Timmerman), all three clad in slips – may be her daughters, or fellow inmates – who knows? What’s clear as their dance unfolds in slow motion duets of pensive embraces and detachments is that anguish has its own special grace.

3 Good Reasons, choreographed by McClaine Timmerman and the dancers, is another trio filled with raw emotions, but in a totally different dynamic. The dancers (Stephanie Proulx, Timmerman and the indispensible Mie) take turns verbally venting their anger at a partner, or at fate itself, as they face a duct-tape wrapped chair in the corner. Meanwhile, the other two dancers display, amplify and illuminate the message in compelling duets.

Voci’s efforts aren’t always on the mark. The clever Tag, whose charm relies partly on the element of surprise, gets old when reprised at the program’s end. Artistic director Genevieve Bernard’s Taken, a whimsical and cautionary take on conformism, becomes over-literal when paired with projected pictures of pills and standardized test score sheets. Nichols’ Lullaby is one of those deeply felt solo efforts that appears self-indulgent on stage.

But the creative process is like that – messy at times, with hits, misses, and some rough-edged works that may be refined later. Central Florida is lucky to have a troupe with the resourcefulness, inspiration and staying power to keep challenging its viewers.

2009 Fringe Reviews:

http://www.orlandoweekly.com/blog/c2g.asp?perm=2234

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_stage_theat/2009/05/fringe-reviews-simplexcomplex-from-vocidexdance.html

Check out this great photo from Matthew Simantov:

iMove//blog/dance/art Warehouse Show at Say It Loud.
Feb. 2009 ‘Monitor’ Choreography by Genevieve Bernard

Read about us here in Dancer Magazine online.

Below is the link to our review of Voci Dance Presents, our response to that review, and some links to other press. Enjoy!

Click here to read the Orlando Sentinel reviews by Diane Hubbard Burns

Click here to read the 11/7/08 Orlando Sentinel article.

Click here to read the 11/6/08 Orlando Weekly article.

Collaborative Stand
November 2007 Review
Diane Hubbard Burns
Dance Critic, Orlando Sentinel

When was the last time you saw a world-premiere dance with a commissioned score and artist-created set in Central Florida? Right — me neither.

Yet the spunky Orlando modern dance troupe Voci has pulled off this little 3D miracle in, of all places, Osceola County. What’s more, it’s a seamless, hour-long work notable for its liberated yet disciplined exploration of movement and the quality of its performances, both visual and aural. Make that a 4D miracle, for the unnamed lighting designer who washes the stage with brilliant hues and speckles it with spotlights is certainly part of the act.

Most of composer Simon Henneman’s music is taped, but one rousing dance scene, “Ritual,” brings musicians and percussionists to a side stage of the Osceola Center for the Arts’ welcoming small theater. And artist Rick Jones’ minimalist, architectural construct of doorways or skyline or goal posts (depending on how you look at it and what dancers are doing at the time) makes an understated but effective setting — even if a piece of it took its own bow by falling on a dancer during Friday’s curtain call.

Those of us reared on modern dance-makers such as Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, who advanced the notion of a “complete” art involving choreographer, artist and composer equally, can celebrate a return to that concept locally and with contemporary flair. Those who could care less about the conceptual underpinnings will find an entertaining, avant-garde performance, nonetheless.

 Four choreographers worked on “A Collaborative Stand,” setting dance “scenes” in varied but compatible styles. In Genevieve Bernard’s introductory “Span,” dancers cross and recross the stage with accelerating paces to the sound of street noises, then push one harried dancer to the ground (scapegoat?) and eventually circle her. Jones’ set suggests an urban streetscape.

Christin Carlow’s “Contest,” begins with dancers lunging at an imaginary starting line, taking off in racelike competition, engaging in push-pull partnering and assembling in a stylized huddle. The set morphs into goal posts and stadium silhouettes.

Mary Clymene Wilkins’ “Ritual” — wow! — has not only the extra oomph of live music but an artful amalgamation of ethnic African dance images and rhythms with smooth modern movement. Clymene Wilkins leads it with a combination of birdlike quickness and catlike elasticity.

In Ellie Potts Barrett’s “Interlude,” Mila Makarova, her arms circled in silver lame, exhibits the power of a dancer as still point. She crosses slowly, tranquilly, and unfolds center stage into a geometrically perfect arabesque, circles back on herself and again strikes that awe-inspiring pose, promenades it, catching a violet spotlight against the red-lit background. The music is slow, lazy-sultry jazz and the mood, complete self-possession.

”A Collaborative Stand,” the program tells us, is meant to be “an abstract look at games, communication and human history.” Abstract seems to be the key word here, as even the “Contest” section extrapolates sports into dancelike partnering. Bernard’s “Monitor” takes the most literal approach, with dancers, thumbs quivering, illustrating the addictive quality of video games in funny, but overly long, mimetic terms.

That program description is interesting mostly for illumination of how this project started, less so for an explanation of how it ended up. The dancing is well-structured and esthetically interesting on its own terms. Does it achieve its conceptual intent? Maybe fleetingly. Does it make for compelling theater? For sure.

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