Light Moves: Incandescence is next step in local dance evolution

Emily Kinzel, photos by Andrea Paulseth

FESTIVAL OF MOVES. Christy Dobbratz performed during the initial Eau Claire Dance Festival in August on 2017, which used locations around Eau Claire from performances.
FESTIVAL OF MOVES. Christy Dobbratz performed during the initial Eau Claire Dance Festival in August on 2017, which used locations around Eau Claire from performances.

Much like Eau Claire’s musical culture, the city’s dance culture is ever-growing. Emily Emerson, founder of Eau Claire Dance Festival, plans to light up the winter months with Incandescence, a modern dance experience celebrating this growth. Friday, Jan. 26 starting at 7pm, enjoy a full hour of rhythm, movement, and music at Forage in Eau Claire. Each dance piece explores the idea of warmth and light. This spin-off event stems from Emerson’s original organization, which sought to bring modern dance to the foreground of our community.

“With modern dance, you can really get in touch with that inner artist on a greater scale, which adds more dimension to dance.” – Emily Emerson, founder and director of the Eau Claire Dance Festival

Modern dance is a raw dance form, which differs greatly from more commonly known styles such as ballet or tap. Modern dance is adaptive and experimental at heart. Its distinct movements are open to the interpretation of audience members and dancers, and ideally it stretches the definition of what “dance” can really be.  

According to Emerson, Incandescence will include three choreographed pieces relate to inspiration and physical heat. The show’s choreography continues to embody organic motions, bringing abstract concepts to fruition through movement. This event will not only spotlight dancers, but musicians and writers as well. This collaborative environment welcomes jazz musicians Jeremy Boettcher, Tim Sullivan, and Josh Gallagher, and writers Jason Splichal, Andy Patrie, Julian Emerson, and BJ Hollars. The dancers include Zoe Plewa, Christy Dobbratz, Jacob Nehrbass, and Emily Emerson herself. Incandescence is truly a full artistic immersion.

“Growing up in Eau Claire, going to Eau Claire School of Dance, dance wasn’t really a true part of ‘the arts,’ ” Emerson said. “It was considered more athletic or a sport – which isn’t right or wrong, it just is. With modern dance, you can really get in touch with that inner artist on a greater scale, which adds more dimension to dance.” When speaking about Incandescence specifically, Emerson emphasized the abstract nature of the piece involving many realms of art.

Each section is about 10 minutes. The first part includes a solo dance piece paired with a solo speaker. The following piece is a collaborative duet that expresses scenarios of “warmth” tied together by two differing perspectives. The final act is completely improvisational. “The writers recite phrases related to the theme deriving from the emotion found within the music,” Emerson said. “Dancers will react to both the music and spoken word.”

Incandesence kicks off at 7pm Friday ,Jan. 26, at Forage in Banbury Place. Tickets are $10, and you can get them in advance at forageeauclaire.com. To learn more about the Eau Claire Dance Festival, visit facebook.com/ecdancefest.

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