Velvet dances, Decidedly Jazz

By Karoline Czerski

I don’t profess to be a professional dancer and my musical talents never flourished past the recorder. How then, can I begin to criticize Velvet, a performance filled with exceptional talent, passion and innovation?

With remarkable ease.

What I saw on the stage and what I heard in the music pit did not strike quite the right harmony as Decidedly Jazz Danceworks mixed ideas, passion, and talent into something that was not fully delivered.

The scene opened in the intimacy of New Orleans. The curtain was drawn and an intriguing set crept into view–dark, distant, dreamy. The music grew louder, drawing the crowd into the beat.

The dancers awoke on stage, they unravelled their passions and talents, slowly immersing themselves in the fantasy that was the story line–abandonment into dreams and nightmares, rippling through space and time.

Then things went a little adrift, as dreams often do. One story line ran into another while the beat was left hanging, leaving the audience somewhat confused and rather unfulfilled. The stage became idle at times, like those dreams that wander aimlessly without ever elaborating into something profound. The music continued, but Velvet only swayed without ever reaching a climax.

Modern dance with a jazz beat spiced Velvet up, creating a hip undertone to free-spirited moves. What the show lacked, however, was a fluency capable of keeping pace with the wild ideas and enticing music that filled the room but never came together as a unified whole.


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