Bruce Wood creates a new repertory favorite with My Brother’s Keeper
I have a been a fan of choreographer Bruce Wood for a few years now, but I had my doubts about his new work My Brother‘s Keeper which premiered Friday night at the Montgomery Arts Theater in Dallas due to its masculine themes and all-male cast.
I went into the theatre feeling sort of like an outsider and left with a new found respect and understanding for the male psyche.
Wood did a magnificent job describing the complex relationships among men using song, movement and storytelling. Wood set the tone right away with eleven men dressed in suits seating on a long bench. Their faces are hidden in the shadows giving the impression that these men could be anyone we know. It made me think of my brother and father.
As the piece proceeds the men come forward into the light in groups of two’s, three’s and four’s to perform a series of signature Wood movements, including rhythmic hand gestures, concave body positions and inverted feet. Vocalist Gary Lynn Floyd and story teller Jac Alder’s passionate performances only enhanced Wood’s fragmented yet fluid movement tendencies.
Wood found a way to describe the relationships between brothers, friends and lovers that was simple in concept yet layered with emotions and movement choices. His choreography is always jam-packed with exciting and unexpected floor work and partnering, but it never comes across muddled. How does he do it?
The trio with Dallas Blagg, Albert Drake and Harry Feril had the biggest impact on me. Their partnering was beautiful, but it was the transitions between the lifts that really stood out. Instead of just placing Drake on his feet, Feril would place him on Blagg’s back allowing Drake to slowly slide to the floor. Rarely did the men break contact with each other; a powerful sign of their love and support for one another. It made me think of my relationship with my sister and my husband’s relationship with his three brothers. We all fight with our siblings, parents and lovers, but with this piece Wood reminds us of the strong bonds that tie us all together. Only Bruce Wood could create such a work.
The Bruce Wood Dance Project will be presenting three new works June 21-23, 2013 at the Dallas City Performance Hall. Visit www.brucewoodance.org for more information.