Dancestry ...beckoning | Shay Ishii Dance Company | The Long Center for the Performing Arts

Dancestry …beckoning: The Story Behind the Shay Ishii Dance Company Production

What do you get when you cross a jellyfish, a century of silk, pine trees and bare feet? With Dancestry …beckoning, a Shay Ishii Dance Company production opening Friday, March 24th, we received some insight on the program from Artistic Director Shay Ishii, herself.

Dancestry …beckoning

Dancestry transports its dancers and audiences on a century-long journey into modern dance history and back again.

beckoning blasts us into the past with the historic works of American modern dance icons Isadora Duncan and Erick Hawkins.

Dancestry ...beckoning | Shay Ishii Dance Company | The Long Center for the Performing Arts

Taking us half a century back is one of Erick’s seminal works and the piece he most wanted to be remembered for, Eight Clear Places. This piece is a “ceremony of attention,” where “each dance gathers and pinpoints a clear theater place…” beckoning showcases two of these clear places; “They Snowing” and “Pine Tree.”

Journeying further still to 1912 is The Many Faces of Love, Duncan’s suite of Brahms waltzes that represent a full range of emotional expression in love, from friendship and family love to sweet romance and fiery passion.

Catapulting the past into the future…

Dancestry ...beckoning | Shay Ishii Dance Company | The Long Center for the Performing ArtsModern dance pioneer and theater lighting innovator, Loïe Fuller, fused dance, fabric and groundbreaking lighting technology in 1892 with her stunning piece Fire Dance. In 2017, Dancestry engages contemporary fiber optic technology with Fuller’s original Fire Dance choreography (and our own vague imagery of jellyfish) to create a true “dance of light.”

Another intertwining of past and present is the premiere of Ellipsis. After years of overseas correspondence and much anticipation, French composer Maurice Ohana completed the long-awaited score commissioned by Erick Hawkins in the early ’90s. Sadly, Erick passed before he was able to choreograph to the completed score. Twenty years later, Katherine Duke, the Artistic Director for the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, has taken up the mantle and Ohana’s score, and has choreographed a new work that reflects her own artistic voice while echoing the aesthetic and poetry of her mentor.

Dancestry ...beckoning | Shay Ishii Dance Company | The Long Center for the Performing Arts

These three pioneers of American modern dance were emboldened to forge new paths in dance and transport their audiences with beauty …and Dancestry carries on that tradition and vision. beckoning offers a glimpse into the past and a new perspective on the impact of historic works that forever changed the world of dance.

Shay Ishii Dance Company presents Dancestry …beckoning, March 24 – 25 in Rollins Studio Theatre.

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