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John Eby: Dance the feet-ured attraction during lunch at SMC

Published 11:38am Monday, April 19, 2010

With Savannah retired to industrial design in Cleveland, my dance diet is deficient, so I checked out Beth LaBaren-Root’s spring dance showcase matinee at Southwestern Michigan College April 16.

I didn’t recognize any performers except Maycie Boyle and Fabio.

Maycie, in “Playtime,” I don’t think I’ve ever seen dance, let alone with a stuffed animal.
Maycie was Niles drum major and I associate her with flute and piccolo playing or the tech side at Beckwith Theatre.

Another special dance project was “Dismemberment” by Joanna Czarnecki.

He wasn’t really Fabio, but with the longest hair on stage, it made the Brazilian bombast of “Carnival” boom. I wish the “field guide” listed performers.

“Painter’s Dream” was interesting.

“The Tapeworm of Love” is indescribable unless you can visualize a bondage scene starring the Lucky Charms leprechaun.

After “Count Me In … 5, 6, 7, 8″ and “Thinking of You,” LaBaren-Root came out to “stall for time” during a costume change, telling us about taking her ensemble to a 25th anniversary show in Muskegon, where she could see her proteges perform in the space which produced her at their age.

“March,” angry martial music, comes from “Inglourious Basterds,” with Cossack-like performers goosestepping around a stage bathed in blood-red light.

“Shadows in a Night Sky” also originated with the movies – the “Twilight” series.

The music was good and loud throughout, which we rock guys appreciate.

In the home stretch, “Street Game,” Christian Smith’s special project, was too hip-hop for my taste; and “Nothing I Can Say,” Holly Kutschbach’s special project.

The expanded evening program for paying customers features high school dancers – Lakeshore, New Buffalo, Dowagiac’s own Encore.

April 16 offered Encore’s Bo Parsons, a percussive tap artist who has been concentrating on improvisation – which you know if you happened to catch his turn as an escort for the Miss Dowagiac pageant.

I think Beth said he was down for “a cappella tap,” which sounds like the birth of a new oxymoron.

She also told us about the Michiana Dance Alliance she has been part of since 2005 so adult alumni and teachers can keep their feet moving.

She was performing with three of those women.

The finale, “Symabali,” featured lithe women in lion-colored costumes creeping about like stealthy jungle cats to what sounded like a Killers ballad seasoned with belly dancing like I covered in Cassopolis and the comeback of MC Hammer parachute pants.

I think the dancers picture themselves in Bollywood, the Indian film industry which rhymes with you know what.

What an eclectic audience a matinee attracts. I haven’t seen a mid-afternoon crowd this unusual since Judy Ivey became Ann Landers in Harvey, Ill.

Old rock guys who turn down their hearing aids during the rap, moms with young kids and Eileen Weingarten brought her whole crew over from North Pointe Center.

- John Eby

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