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Dance Performance Combines Dark and Light

MDT Company - 1

Photo credit: David Mikautadze

MDT Company - 1
Written by: Colby ShoupMay 04, 2017

Dance has always been capable of more than people give it credit for, said Elizabeth Mikautadze, founder and artistic director of Mikautadze Dance Theatre.

Any time you are experiencing art that doesn’t involve words, it has the ability to make people feel things in a different way,” Mikautadze said. “Dance has that ability, and it can be more powerful than other artforms because it’s all movement. It connects to something primevil and instinctual that we don’t have words for; that’s why you can use dance to tell so many different kinds of stories.”

The dancers of Mikautadze Dance Theatre will be telling some of those stories with their latest show, “Love and Darkness,” at 8 p.m. June 2 and June 3 at Williams Theatre.

The performance will feature collaborations with local band Silbo Gomero, IPFW vocalist Alana Miller, and composers Debra Lynn and David Mikautadze.

Nicki Meier, an IPFW alumna, will also be collaborating on a piece, but in a different way than Elizabeth Mikautadze said she is used to. Meier will be working with the dance collective to create a piece based on her personal traumatic experiences.

“The subject matter of the piece is kind of heavy, so it’s been a hard experience for the dancers,” Mikautadze said. “However, through that heaviness, there’s a lightness — a healing factor.”

This combination of dark and light is a running theme throughout the show, Mikautadze said.

Another one of the show’s darker pieces is a dance choreographed to “Dido’s Lament,” a song from the opera “Dido and Aeneas.” The piece was created shortly after the 2016 presidential election. It is meant to show the mentality of America in that moment, said Kelsey Patnoude, company dancer and senior anthropology major.

“I think the day after the election we came into rehearsal, and there was this feeling of defeat,” Patnoude said. “We felt like people were turning away from each other, and the choreography really reflects that idea.”

Later in the show, the dancers perform “Talkin’,” a piece Patnoude said is meant to be the polar opposite of “Dido’s Lament.” “Talkin’’ features brightly colored costumes and a fast-paced original composition performed by a saxophone quartet. The piece is about the joy of human connection, Patnoude said.

“I think there’s an arc in the show about the duality between feelings of despair and defeat and also showing the opposite of that,” Patnoude said. “It’s about the spectrum of human emotions: The good, the bad and the in-between.”

Tickets to “Love and Darkness” are available through the IPFW Box Office. Admission is $18 for the general public and $12 for IPFW students.