Considering how stratified the world of concert dance is, it’s hard to pass up the chance to see a company like NoMi Dance Inc, who are at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago on Saturday, November 24. They’re presenting <a href=””http://www.nomilamaddance.com/Three_Parts_of_One.html” target=”_blank”>”three parts of one”</a>, which they describe as “An Evening of Dance in Three Parts”, and the program, true to the Company’s mission and history, is designed to be both expansive and focused.
Considering all of the problems and obstacles that are part of just being an independent dance company, let alone putting together a major show, the willingness to include as broad a range of styles and voices as NoMi Dance does is especially impressive; it’s an added challenge that demands practice, perseverance and poise. NoMi Dance, Inc have been doing it for five years, originally as NoMi LaMad Dance, under the co-direction of Laura Kariotis and Madeline J. Renwick. The two founded the Company in 2007 with a vision “to bring an eclectic mix of dance styles to its audiences,” and at the Company’s site <a href=”http://www.nomilamaddance.com/Home.html” target=”_blank”>nomilamaddance.com</a>, NoMi Dance describes what they do: “NoMi executes the beauty of contemporary ballet, the intensity of jazz, the athleticism of modern, and the passion of ballroom, providing audiences with an experience of each.” They also go on to describe how they do it, and that’s the part that really describes their “three parts in one” performance: “The company also utilizes outside elements and joins forces with like-minded artists, companies and choreographers to keep performances both refreshing and innovative.”
“three parts in one” features choreography by five respected choreographers with very different styles. <a href=”http://www.nomilamaddance.com/Laura_Kariotis.html” target=”_blank”>Kariotis</a> herself, who became the Company’s sole Artistic Director in 2012 with longtime friend Renwick’s departure, presents “Unsaid”, set to an original score by <a href=”http://www.davidhamiltonmusic.com” target=”_blank”>David S. Hamilton</a>. Paul Christiano, Laura Wade and Sarah Robinson also contribute new works; Christiano’s “Done and Done” is a characteristically energetic piece for nine dancers, Robinson’s “The Simplicity of Old Toys” is a classical work for four women, and Wade’s “Fazed” is a five minute solo performed by Christiano.
In an arrangement characteristic of NoMi Dance’s uniquely inclusive approach, the evening also includes a major new work by Eddy Ocampo entitled “Level”. Ocampo has been a critically acclaimed choreographer for years, but “Level” represents a significant new kind of artistic endeavor; it’s a collaboration with Lighting Designer Josh Weckesser, whose imaginative and comprehensive environmental setting for the work defines much of its structure. The environmental design was actually developed first, and Ocampo created his multilayered one-act work of choreography and theater within the context of that setting.
It’s a broad and intriguing program, perfect for “An Evening of Dance”, and in the many different creative perspectives that it includes, it’s an unusual chance to see a very different, and a very carefully thought out evening of dance.