A Happy Homecoming

Bruce Wood's whimsical Happy Feet. Photo courtesy of Sharen Bradford.

Dynamic, Uplifting and Joyful. Bruce Wood’s return to the Dallas dance scene was all of these things and more.

The atmosphere in the Montgomery Theater this past weekend was reminiscent of a family reunion. Old dance friends and new dance friends alike greeted each other with hugs and smiles. It was nice to see so many members of the Dallas dance community gathered in one place to support one of their own.

What separates Bruce Wood from the rest of today’s contemporary choreographers is the emotional bond he is able to create between the audience and the dancers. You don’t have to understand the meaning behind each movement to enjoy his work. Both of his premiere dances evoked different emotions from me.

With Happy Feet it was joy and nostalgia for my adolescence. I mean how could you not smile as the 10 dancers frolicked about the stage to live vocals provided by Ginny Mac. It’s not easy to blend moments of silliness and proper technique into a piece of work but Bruce Wood does it. One minute the dancers are walking stiff-legged with their head bobbing back and forth and the next they are gliding through a series of turns finishing in a perfect arabesque. The opposing arm and footwork along with the dancers corky personalities made this piece quite memorable.

Our Last Lost Chance was the complete opposite. The piece starts with a lone female dancers standing center stage with her back to the audience and fog all around her. As the music (which resembles a beating heart) plays she clenches her fists and slowly raises them to her face. When she turns around you can see the pain and desperation in her face. It was a powerful moment. When she looked like she was about to collapse a male dancer ran out from the wings to catch here. She clung to him when it was time for him to depart. Another male/female couple shared a similar story but this time is was the women who was trying to leave. There was also an interesting story going on with the two male dancers. With their backs to the audience they sat side-by-side unmoving. When the man on the left starts to sway the man on the right catches him and sets him right.

What I liked most about the evening is that I wasn’t bored. Bruce Wood kept my attention the whole time and I wish Happy Feet didn’t have to end . BRAVO!!


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