Sunday, January 21, 2018
Stage

Beacon 2018 brings professional dancers and choreographers to the Palladium

ST. PETERSBURG

The dancers kept moving, spinning, pausing for arabesques or stretches. Over most of a December afternoon at the Mirror Lake Studios, they rarely stopped, whether rehearsing specific routines or not.

Choreographer Lauren Ree Slone also moved and as she talked to the women, developing some ideas and beginning others. Her words sounded clear, about transitions, things that continue, overlays, trees — yet her sentences could not be understood only by hearing.

These sentences must be seen.

On Friday, they will be. Beacon, a collaborative concert among modern dancers and choreographers with ties to St. Petersburg and Tampa, kicks off its third year at the Palladium, an active partner in the annual production. Slone and Helen Hansen French, one of the dancers on the floor, founded the event in 2015 to call attention to the wealth of dance talent in St. Petersburg and Tampa, people out of school and working professionally.

Most know each other and have worked together in groups of two or three, Slone said. But with six choreographers and 16 dancers, Beacon 2018 represents the largest dance concert of its type in St. Petersburg yet. Those numbers don’t include the singers, musicians and videographers making up five dance pieces and an original film. It’s all original, new work, much of it with a local focus.

Slone, 36, is a former artistic director of a dance company in Morgantown, W.V., whose work has garnered multiple residencies and a National Center for the Arts fellowship. The title of her piece, Mother Phrase, is a nod to Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder of the Urban Bush Women dance company and Slone’s mentor who coined the term. A mother phrase is a starting metaphor, a root idea that germinates within movement.

It’s also a tribute to Slone’s mother, Dottie, 71, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

"I’ve been thinking about her remarkable qualities," Slone said. "One of them is that I see her as a person that finishes anything she starts. And so in terms of this, I’ve been thinking of those past things that I never finished."

Mother Phrase consists of unfinished abstract pieces, stitched together with Bach’s Harpsichord Concertos and eight other women who have contributed to its form and content. They appeared in segments of three or four, moving like parts of a clock or hundreds of other things. In a typical moment, Slone paused to hear an idea from French, a former principal dancer with the Buglisi Dance Theatre.

"I thought I’d do …," French said, uncoiling like a dervish inside a wine glass, then spiraling back up and over the side.

Slone nodded. The piece ended with all the dancers on stage, leaping backward and lunging forward like a field of blossoming flowers, about 30 reps. Afterward, for the first time in two hours and 15 minutes, they looked a bit winded. The break allowed dancer Mary Chase Doll to take a question about what the piece means to her.

"An image I have, just from knowing these ladies, is that mothering comes in all forms," said Doll, 39, who teaches dance at the University of Tampa. "We all have our own mother, but we get nurture from all different people in all different walks of life."

The rehearsal continued after a breather, because some things are never quite finished.

Contact Andrew Meacham at ameacham@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2248.
Follow @torch437.

 
Comments
Orchestra sets off fireworks in the brassy ‘Sinfonietta’

Orchestra sets off fireworks in the brassy ‘Sinfonietta’

TAMPA — Many times during Sinfonietta, Leoš Janácek’s notoriously difficult but joyous work, it was impossible for a regular patron of the Florida Orchestra to escape this observation: They have never sounded quite like this.This isn’t to say musicia...
Updated: 12 hours ago
‘Mike Hammer - Encore for Murder’ serves up hard-boiled 1950s fare with a healthy side of wit

‘Mike Hammer - Encore for Murder’ serves up hard-boiled 1950s fare with a healthy side of wit

CLEARWATER — From the moment the title character takes center stage, Mike Hammer — Encore for Murder is sold. Rarely does one actor own an entire production the way Gary Sandy owns this world premiere, and it’s a pleasure at watch, in large measure t...
Published: 01/19/18
Inside American Stage’s plan to offer free or reduced admission to young people

Inside American Stage’s plan to offer free or reduced admission to young people

ST. PETERSBURG An air compressor did most of the talking as the small crew stapled down flooring to the stage. A master carpenter kept unskilled but eager workers on track, telling them where to line up edges. An astringent smell of glue permeated t...
Published: 01/18/18
What’s on stage this week: Riverdance, ‘Mike Hammer,’ ‘The Tempest’

What’s on stage this week: Riverdance, ‘Mike Hammer,’ ‘The Tempest’

RIVERDANCE AT 20: CIARA SEXTONShe’s a former world champion in Irish dance, and now Ciara Sexton, center, is leading Riverdance in Tampa. A lead dancer and soloist with the troupe, Sexton said she has felt comfortable touring the states."What really ...
Published: 01/17/18
Steve Martin and Martin Short talk touring together and ‘newfangled old-fashioned’ variety show

Steve Martin and Martin Short talk touring together and ‘newfangled old-fashioned’ variety show

It’s barely been a year since Steve Martin and Martin Short last brought their roadshow to town. But there was never a doubt in their minds they’d be back."We thought — and I seriously mean this — we’ve got to play Florida more." Martin said in a pho...
Published: 01/17/18
Tampa Rep’s ‘Gnit’ is a sharp commentary on narcissism in the age of selfies

Tampa Rep’s ‘Gnit’ is a sharp commentary on narcissism in the age of selfies

By JULIE GARISTOTimes CorrespondentTAMPA — Tampa Repertory Theatre’s Gnit strikes gold for theatergoers who appreciate deadpan wit, clever wordplay and incisive commentary on the human condition.First produced in 2013, the retread of a Scandinavian c...
Published: 01/16/18
Review: Show Palace’s Pippin daring and dangerous

Review: Show Palace’s Pippin daring and dangerous

HUDSON —If you saw the musical Pippin when it first hit Broadway in 1972, or a high school drama club version, or even a touring company rendition a decade ago, it’s not exactly the Pippin you’ll see if you’re wise enough to go see the spectacular mo...
Published: 01/15/18
Updated: 01/18/18
Review: Richey Suncoast’s I Hate Hamlet worth shouting about

Review: Richey Suncoast’s I Hate Hamlet worth shouting about

NEW PORT RICHEY — Many years ago I lived near New Orleans, and one of my favorite pastimes was to put my son in his stroller and saunter up and down the streets of the Vieux Carre.But Bourbon Street in the late afternoon was our favorite. Back then, ...
Published: 01/15/18
Updated: 01/18/18
A play about Miami’s Cocaine Cowboys is becoming a reality

A play about Miami’s Cocaine Cowboys is becoming a reality

MIAMI — The idea seemed outlandish, maybe even impossible at the time: a one-man play about Miami’s infamous Cocaine Cowboys of the 1980s. Some 15 years ago, the Miami-raised Billy Corben was deep into research for what would become Coca...
Published: 01/15/18
Updated: 01/16/18
With Zev Buffman at the creative end, Ruth Eckerd Hall brings Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer to the stage

With Zev Buffman at the creative end, Ruth Eckerd Hall brings Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer to the stage

An actor famous for playing a radio station manager will star this week in the world premiere of a radio play.Mike Hammer: Encore for Murder brings Gary Sandy, who played Andy Travis on WKRP in Cincinnati, to Ruth Eckerd Hall. And the star power was ...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/13/18