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Posted on Thu. Mar. 13, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

New York's Gallim Dance Company rethinks movement

The group will perform and teach here Friday and Saturday.

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Creative dance

What: Gallim Dance Company performance of “Sit, Kneel, Stand” and “Pupil Suite”

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St.

Cost: $20 adults, $18 students, and $15 each for groups 10 or more. For tickets, call 424-6574 or buy at www.fwdc.org.

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Innovative and fearless physical feats in a balance between mind and body will be presented by the Fort Wayne Dance Collective when it hosts a performance of “Sit, Kneel, Stand” and “Pupil Suite” by Gallim Dance Company at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Arts United Center.

Andrea Miller is the founder, artistic director and choreographer for Gallim Dance. It is a contemporary dance company from New York whose performances are based on original works by Miller.

According to www.gallimdance.com, the company was founded in 2007. Since then, Gallim Dance has gained worldwide attention for nurturing the careers of young artists and stimulating the imaginations of a diverse, international audience.

“We like to bring in companies that are cutting-edge and different,” said Liz Monnier, co-founder and artistic director of the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. “What we liked about Gallim is it really explores different ways of movement and challenges our definition of what dance is. It's lovely to bring in outside companies to inspire our students and audiences.”

The “Sit, Kneel, Stand” piece has thematic elements tied to the tale of King Sisyphus in Greek mythology. As punishment for numerous acts of deception, Sisyphus was condemned to rolling a large boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down again, and repeat this action for eternity.

A summary on the Gallim Dance website says “Pupil Suite” is performed to the music of Israeli band Balkan Beat Box and plays with the extravagance of the imagination. According to Miller, incorporating Sisyphus' tale into “Sit, Kneel, Stand” was to convey the challenges that people confront on a daily basis.

For “Sit, Kneel, Stand,” Miller underwent a new creative process of artistic development that presented challenges of its own, such as balancing choreography and improvisation.

“It was one of the first pieces I made,” Miller said. “A lot of it was learning about my own movement vocabulary, how I like to move, how I translate my movements to other dancers and collaborate with their artistry.”

Gallim performs for more than 15,000 audience members annually worldwide.

“People laugh at different things, and people enjoy different things,” Miller said. “It's important that my work is universal, relevant and speaks to people regardless of where they're from. It's OK if people understand it differently.”

While in Fort Wayne, Gallim will teach master classes to dance students from North Side and South Side high schools. Through grants from Wells Fargo, the students also will receive tickets to attend the Gallim performance.

Gallim will also teach a master class to the public at 6 p.m. Friday at the Fort Wayne Dance Collective, 437 E. Berry St.

After Saturday's performance, the audience will get the chance to meet the dancers, ask questions and discover their creative process at the Arts United Center.

Miller hopes audience members who are experiencing the dance medium for the first time will become open to a new vocabulary and a new way of experiencing movement.

“This is not a traditional dance style — it's an unorthodox way of using the body and, hopefully, they ask questions and have a sensory experience,” she said. “They don't have to worry about what everything means; they can just enjoy.”

cmccallister@news-sentinel.com


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