Here is my review of the Boston Somatic Dance Company’s Oct. 2 performance at Hampshire College. For this review, I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and take in a style of performing arts that is new to me. Enjoy.
My history with live dance performance is thin. My parents took me to see The Nutcracker when I was nine and I was less than enthralled. My cousin has taken dance for as long as I can remember and has invited me to countless performances, but I never felt the slightest inclination to attend. Once again, my fear of boredom got the best of me.
None of this really mattered Friday night, as I sat in a tranced state of heightened bemusement and sheer wonderment during the Boston Somatic Dance Company’s performance at the Hampshire College Main Dance Theatre.
The BoSoma ensemble, now in their sixth season, consists of nine women, each meticulously trained in various styles of dance, and perform in venues throughout Greater Boston and New England.
They played two shows, Friday and Saturday, at Hampshire College and the company has deep ties to the Five Colleges. Co-Artistic Directors Irada Djelassi and Katherine Hooper both received their Bachelors of Fine Arts in dance at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, in 2000 and 1997 respectively. Three dancers are also UMass graduates and one from the Smith College graduate dance program earlier this year.
The nearly full Main Dance Theatre sat about 75 patrons and acted as an ideal intimate environment for the engaging performance. The sound system made a couple of the performances really pop, especially some of the more tribal, bouncy numbers. Although the lighting was minimal and caused delays, as it took a couple minutes between each performance to change color schemes, they were successful in establishing a unique mood to each song.
Overall, there were seven separate dances, each containing unique costume and lighting changes. The music ranged from works from Italian composer Giovanni Sollima to Japanese drum ensemble Kodo to ambient maestro Brian Eno.
The standout performances of the night came from Tara McCrystal and Amanda Rey, the only dancers to take part in all seven scenes, including a duet entitled Between Lines (2009). Set to a two part composition from Sollima, the two, one in an all red dress, the other black, begin with a sensuous display of mutual worship before escalating into a feverish standoff and display of anything-you-can-do.
The pieces ranged from transcendent, Habitual (2009) mostly due to the music from the pling-plong plucking of Meredith Monk, accented by the stream of conscious vocal arrangements, to forgettable, the second act opener Tapestry (1997), perhaps outdated, as it is the only piece that originated outside of this decade.
The next dates for BoSoma are set for Nov. 6 and 7, the Massachusetts Dance Festival Inaugural Performance at the Boston University Dance Theatre. Even if you have no interest in dance, I suggest attending one of their performances for nothing more than the potential to expand your horizons.