On Stage

No Such Place

Bellingham Rep’s quest for connection


What: Bellingham Rep's "no such place"

Where: Firehouse PAC, 1314 Harris Ave.


WHEN: 7:30pm Jan. 20-21 and 27-28 and 5pm Sun., Jan. 29

Cost: $13-$20

Info: http://www.bhamrep.org

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Although attending the debut of a show on opening night is often a thrill, years of sitting in on dress rehearsals of everything from plays by local kids to gigantic productions in large performance venues has taught me they can be just as interesting as the finished product.

My experience last weekend viewing Bellingham Repertory Dance’s run-through of their upcoming 11th annual winter concert, “no such place,” reminded me of this predilection.

As I sat in the middle of the Firehouse Performing Arts Center’s staging area waiting for the show to start, the dancers stretched, rehearsed moves and chatted among themselves—about the stories they’d soon be telling with their bodies, but also about their lives and what they’d been up to since they saw each other last. 

It wasn’t until I returned to work Monday morning and re-read the press release for the production that I realized the camaraderie that exists between the professional dancers both onstage and off isn’t an accident, and is also is a large part of what appealed to me.

For example, while viewing the works showcased in “no such place,” one of the notes I wrote about a piece titled “The Final Hours” was that there seemed to be “an urgency for connection.” Looking back, I now see how this sentiment might as well have been a secondary theme for the show.

Although the dances were culled from choreographers from around the country and collected before they knew exactly how they would fit together, they now seem to be pieces of the same puzzle.

“Like postmodern cubism, BRD alum Ella Mahler’s duet ‘this and this too’ suggests a relationship that either expresses itself across a span of time, or exists as many multiplicities at once,” explains the press release. “Somebodies Dance Theater’s ‘Quietly, Quickly’ explores the heightened social and physical awareness bred by war in a duet set against an anxious backdrop of a chorus of dancers, and Joy French’s ‘1st/2nd’ invites audiences into the nuance and absurdity of laughter between close friends. Threaded through the concert’s offerings is the genuine and daring use of movement as a language for building not only narrative but also emotional texture.”

Because the Firehouse is such an intimate venue, it’s possible to see every one of those emotions passing over the dancers’ faces, as well as the ripples of their muscles as they jump and land and the sounds of their exertion as they give all they have to telling the tales through movement. And whether that happens in a darkened room with spotlights hitting just so, or at a dress rehearsal between friends, the thrill is there just the same.

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