Breaking Ground 2014 in Tempe Showcased Diverse New Choreography, Fell Short on Film

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See also: Slideshow - Breaking Ground Contemporary Dance and Film Festival 2014 in Tempe

The evening began with a pre-show, reConception, which featured various local dance groups scattered around the inside and outside of the performing arts center. The unconventional use of space allowed for a refreshing level of interactivity between audience members and performers. Anna McClellan's casting your imagination into the depths of sleep was performed in an intimate setting just beside the infinity pool on the north patio; audience members were separated from McClellan by a small ring of luminarias, allowing for an intensely personal performance experience. Liliana Gomez's INTO THE DISTANCE was another stand-out piece from the pre-show, in which Gomez and fellow dancer Joseph Mack Hall performed among a series of streamers strung between light poles. Their performance was impressive, and the piece was a true reimagining of the space.

On Friday night, the shift to the formal seated performance began with the premiere of subSTRATA, a piece choreographed by Chad Michael Hall that arguably was the standout of the evening. The work purportedly was inspired by Jungian conceptions of the shadow self as well as Plato's allegory of the cave. And the really amazing thing is that the connection to these philosophical ideas was quite clear in the dance itself. The piece showcased the athleticism of the dancers, while expounding upon a clear narrative arch driven by the conception of the shadow self. It was a real treat. subSTRATA was the only large company piece featured during the first night of Breaking Ground, which was a shame, but it fulfilled the role well.

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Katrina Montgomery