Friday, April 20, 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
The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Florida Orchestra puts another exclamation point on its 50th season with Verdi’s Requiem, this weekend’s concert series, a major presentation of an iconic work. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem debuted in 1874 but took on a new layer of signif...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

ST. PETERSBURG — In the coming season, Freefall Theatre is rolling out a world premiere, a different take on Christmas, a sharp comedy and a recent work by Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage. The theme for the 2018-2019 season, "A Brighter Tomorrow," color...
Published: 04/19/18
Desi Oakley savors pie making in ‘Waitress,’ orchestra does Verdi’s Requiem

Desi Oakley savors pie making in ‘Waitress,’ orchestra does Verdi’s Requiem

HEAD WAITRESS: DESI OAKLEYThe blue collar mother who drives the plot of Waitress never thought she could win a pie-making contest, let alone start a business."She doesn’t even have the capacity to understand that she could do this," said Desi Oakley,...
Published: 04/18/18
American Stage sets the table for a splashy park musical ‘The Producers’

American Stage sets the table for a splashy park musical ‘The Producers’

ST. PETERSBURG ­— Think early evening, daylight saving version. The earth turning away, light fading in Demens Landing Park — everywhere except the stage, which is trying its best to resurrect midday. "It looks like New York City at nigh...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Brooksville’s Live Oak Theatre presents ‘ReUnKnighted,’ a medieval misadventure

Brooksville’s Live Oak Theatre presents ‘ReUnKnighted,’ a medieval misadventure

BROOKSVILLE — How about a story about two knights who gain their knighthood, lose it, then gain it back, only to lose it again?That was the concept Kyle Marra pitched nearly three years ago to Randi Olsen, founder and creative director for the Live O...
Published: 04/17/18
Bilingual ‘In the Time of the Butterflies’ shines a light on brutal regime

Bilingual ‘In the Time of the Butterflies’ shines a light on brutal regime

TAMPA — Tampa made its cigars with indispensable help from Cuban immigrants. Today, 22 percent of the population is of Hispanic origin, as defined by the U.S. Census. The Tampa Bay area has increasingly and proudly defined itself as a thriving perfor...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Review: ‘I’ll Be Back’ at Stage West mixes creepy with shocking

Review: ‘I’ll Be Back’ at Stage West mixes creepy with shocking

The murder mystery/thriller I’ll Be Back Before Midnight is loaded with potential. Playwright Peter Colley’s spooky, sometimes creepy, script has lots of surprises, scary moments and a few jokes to break the tension.And the production at Stage West C...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Review: ‘Menopause the Musical’ brings the heat to Show Palace in Hudson

For years, Show Palace Dinner Theatre patrons have begged owners Vicki and Tommy Marasciullo to bring Menopause the Musical to their Hudson venue. To be sure, the longtime showbiz couple wanted to, and the 400+ sold-out crowd opening night, followed ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Monthly dessert theatre opens at CARES

Monthly dessert theatre opens at CARES

NEW PORT RICHEY — A collaborative agreement between CARES (Community Aging and Retirement Services) and local entertainer Jimmy Ferraro will bring Jimmy Ferraro’s Dessert Theatre, a series of monthly variety shows, to the CARES Elfers Center stage, 4...
Published: 04/16/18
New opera by Anton Coppola, 101, highlights Opera Tampa’s 2018-2019 season

New opera by Anton Coppola, 101, highlights Opera Tampa’s 2018-2019 season

TAMPA — Last year’s lavish 100th birthday party for composer and conductor Anton Coppola might have seemed like the capstone of a long career in opera. Turns out that Opera Tampa’s co-founder was not finished. The maestro’s latest opera, Lady Swanwhi...
Published: 04/14/18