When I was a senior in high school, I was cast as one of the dancers in our fall production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Now, I am many things (writer, jock, nerd, musician), but I am not a dancer. No sir. I think my director did it as a sort of going-away present: I’d been in many of his shows before, and was always cast in such glamorous non-dancing roles as Salvation Army Band Member (Guys and Dolls) or Wife/Skinny Cow Number Four (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). But never a dancer. And for good reason: I can’t dance.
My lack of skill in the dance department makes me all the more impressed with those who can move gracefully and beautifully. Here in the Twin Cities, we’re blessed with an abundance of dance companies. Ballet, modern, jazz, abstract: they’re all accounted for with world-class troupes. One such company, Mathew Janczewski’s ARENA DANCE, kicks off its 17th season Friday, September 21, at the Cowles Center with Les Petites Choses, a high-energy, physically challenging, avant-garde group work set to the music of French singer and composer Katerine.
While I may not know the difference between specific moves or the meaning behind a choreographer’s decision, I do know that to survive in an arts scene as competitive and high caliber as the Twin Cities’, you have to be good. And from what I can tell, ARENA DANCE is better than good.