On Stage


It’s not about the bikes


What: Spokes

Where: Firehouse Arts and Events Center, 1314 Harris Ave.


WHEN: 7:30pm Oct. 17-19; 5pm Sun., Oct. 20

Cost: $12-$18

Info: http://www.kuntzandco.org

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Rankling Pam Kuntz isn’t easy.

When I queried the dancer and choreographer about a press release she’d sent regarding Kuntz and Company’s latest community dance piece, Spokes, I noted she’d sent photos of people on bikes and the title evoked them, but she’d ended the missive by saying the show wasn’t about the two-wheeled conveyances.

“The bikes are the frame we are using to explore relationships,” she says. “In the same way that True Grit is not about horses or Star Trek is not about spaceships, Spokes is not about bikes.”

Among the line items on the roster of relationship-related bullet points are family and friends, husbands and wives, kids and siblings, boyfriends and girlfriends, and less tangible subjects such as love, breakdancing, arm wrestling, jazz hands, high-tens, bells, churning butter, monkeys and penguins.

Wait, what? Penguins?

“There is a scene in the piece where penguins are referenced in the sound score and the actors wobble like penguins,” Kuntz says. “I guess it is a bit of an inside joke, but I’m glad it caught your eye.”

Per usual, Kuntz says, she relied on a group of collaborators to bring the story to life. In addition to co-creator and director Vanessa Daines, other Kuntz and Company veterans such as Kate Stevenson (Prison Pieces, The Mom Project), Ian Bivins (Hide and Seek, Stories from Jim and Jo), and Annie Hewlett (Positive; Hello, My Name is You) are also on board. Additionally, performing collaborators include moms, athletes, administrators, teachers, a fireman, a physical therapist and a middle schooler—all of whom brought personal experiences to the process that not only helped create the content, but also informed it.

Another performance partner designed and welded the steel “trainers” the bikes will be mounted on during the Oct. 17-20 shows at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center. Kuntz says she hasn’t been on a bike in a while, so she’s glad they’ll be stationary.

That said, please remember that it’s not about the bikes. Kuntz says she thinks everyone who comes to see Spokes will be able to see themselves in this piece. Unlike other Kuntz and Company shows, this one is much more broad in scope when it comes to the stories and characters people will see onstage. She’s proud of what they’ve made, and can’t wait to share it.

Spokes invites joy,” she says. “We have explored deeply connected relationships that literally go on a ride. We believe it will take the people who experience it on a journey that will bring both laughter and tears and ultimately plop them square in the lap of love.”

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