Laura Vernaci, KCMetropolis.org
Owen/Cox Dance Group premiered “A Body of Work” this past weekend, which featured a seamless synthesis of dance, music, vocal, and video.
Thursday night, Owen/Cox Dance Group filled the Charlotte Street Foundation’s humble “white” box theater La Esquina with its newest collaboration A Body of Work. Venturing outside the box was Jennifer Owen’s inquisitive choreography, especially in the first half of the piece, as well as Brad Cox’s sound mixing of the electric keyboard, ambient noise, and vocals from soprano Victoria Botero.
While the last few attendees filed into their seats, the quintet of dancers unassumingly took to the bare stage to warm up. They diminutively rehearsed and nonchalantly chatted, eventually removing their warm ups and thus beginning the real performance. The first sections featured fluid and expansive movements and melodies that created a perfect matrimony.
All of the dancers, two women and three men, were physically and adeptly strong but graceful as they moved about the raised stage. The fusion of ballet and modern complemented each dancer’s personal style, all of whom delivered seamless executions. A benefit to the intimate proximity was getting an up-close view of the dancers’ precise isolations and muscle definition.
Eleve Dancewear founder Lisa Choules designed the sleek and flattering, flesh-colored costumes. Three panels lined the back of the stage with projected images and video produced by Nate Fors. The projections, which ranged from a variety of shoes to animated feet in the shower, brought little substance to the overall production and sometimes distracted from the performing artists.
Botero fervently sang into a recording mic, which Cox captured and manipulatively looped and stretched and layered on top of the synthesized sounds. Botero produced everything from dramatic breathing and sustained notes to shrill staccatos that, when played back, took on the likes of animals and children. The dancers even created music of their own, at times stomping their feet and banging on suspended, hollow shelves. The combined elements, heightened by the enclosed acoustics, resulted in an engaging sensory experience.