On Stage

Modern Movement

The power of three

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A trio of press releases came across my desk last week that drew attention to the state of contemporary dance in Bellingham (hint: it’s mostly alive and well). And, while each company who shared their news with me will also be showcasing their talents at public performances in the near future, what’s happening with all three is worth expounding upon.

Kuntz and Company, long known for using dance and theater to draw attention to heady issues affecting the community—such as caring for children, death and dying, connections between the young and old, people living with disabilities, body image, AIDS and much more—will be bringing something entirely different to the stage March 4-5 in the form of “revived, refurbished, and recent.” The repertory concert at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center won’t focus on a specific theme, but rather will consist of new works and pieces from the past. “Having never presented an evening of work addressing multiple topics, or just dance for dance sake, this concert offers a range or works that cover the serious, the comical and some in between,” artistic director Pam Kuntz says. In addition to viewing reprisals from 2012’s “The Family Project” and 2014’s “Hide and Seek,” audiences can also see performers explore the challenge of getting to the television remote control, watch a mother/daughter relationship morph over the course of decades, witness a dance inside of a bike crash and be part of a launching point for the investigation of religion. True to form with Kuntz and Co., it’s all part of the bigger concept of living the human experience. When: 7:30pm Fri., March 4 and 2pm and 7:30pm Sat., March 5 Where: Firehouse PAC, 1314 Harris Ave. Cost: $15 Info: http://www.kuntzandco.org

Meanwhile, the movers and shakers at Bellingham Repertory Dance are revving up for their 10th anniversary celebration, “Decade,” which takes place April 9 at the Mount Baker Theatre. However, you won’t have to wait until then to see what’s brewing with the professional dance company. First off, as part of the Fri., March 4 Art Walk, soloist Tatyana Stahler will highlight a piece by Seattle-based choreographer Eva Stone at free pop-up performances at Kombucha Town (7pm), Hatch (7:30pm), and Cafe Bouzingo (8pm). At 12pm Sat., March 5, those who want a further sneak peek are welcome to show up to an open rehearsal at the Firehouse PAC (where, if you stick around long enough, you’ll be on hand to view the Kuntz and Company matinee). At the free rehearsal, eight of the company’s dancers and choreographer Marlo Martin will be workshopping “Look At Me With Your Eyes Wide Shut,” a dance that explores the tension between the desire to be seen and the fear of the gazes of others. The piece is one of six that will be highlighted at the big event in April, and is sure to whet your appetite for what’s to come. When: 7:30pm Sat., April 9 Where: Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. Cost: $20 Info: http://www.mountbakertheatre.com or www.bhamrep.org

Finally, the news from Dance Gallery is one that is both welcoming and also bittersweet. When the longtime collaborators present their 25th annual Spring Concert in early April at the Firehouse PAC, it’ll be their last. Since 1991, the modern dance enthusiasts have been welcoming students and performers in a wide range of talents and styles, and finding original choreography that best represents that unique diversity. While the group will still offer dance classes and may make guest appearances in the future, this might be your last chance to see them as a cohesive unit. Don’t miss it. When: April 1-3 Where: Firehouse PAC Cost: $12 Info: http://www.dancegallery.org

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