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Brio set to take stage at State Theatre

by on September 13, 2012 6:56 PM

STATE COLLEGE — The Italian word Brio means “life-giving.”

So when State College choreographer Lane Grosser discusses her contemporary dance company, Brio, she makes it clear that she hopes audiences “feel alive in ways they never did before” when her dancers take the stage.

On Sept. 14, Brio will give the area the opportunity to connect with the vitality of Grosser’s work. The company will perform at the State Theatre in downtown State College, preceded by local musicians, Pure Cane Sugar.

The evening’s program will open with a musical presentation by Kate Twoey, Molly Countermine and Natalie Berrena, the vocalists of Pure Cane Sugar. Brio will follow, presenting three of Grosser’s pieces.

The first piece, “Resonance,” set to music by Daniel Bernard Roumain, takes the viewer on a journey of pure movement. Grosser says she “was struck by the music,” which results in an eclectic work combining several distinct styles. In this piece, sustained movement and slow, curving shapes give way to jazzier, more staccato elements. The dancers’ bodies carve forms in space that seem to emerge from the score itself. Grosser utilizes gravity and weight where dancers twist and roll on the floor, only to defy gravity and weight with loftier leaps and effortless lifts. The resulting effect of the piece leaves the viewer breathless and definitely craving more.

If “Resonance” explores the relationship of dance to music, the second work, “The Four Seasons,” delves even deeper into the symbiosis of these two art forms. You’ve never seen Vivaldi interpreted like this. Grosser, a former soloist with New York’s Nicholas Andre Dance company, has studied many dance forms including ballet, modern and even hip-hop, all of which show in her choreography. She uses traditional combinations presented in unexpected directions and from unexpected angles. It results in a refreshing interpretation of a familiar instrumental work.

However, Grosser has some real surprises for the viewer.

“If I could make whatever I want,” she said, “this could be interesting.”

Her dancers go a step or two beyond “interesting.” From lightning-fast footwork sequences to an almost funky series of bounces, the performers offer some truly edgy moments. “The Four Seasons” takes chances that give the viewer an experience both entertaining and adventurous.

With Grosser’s final presentation for the evening, “Some and Others,” she depicts “three ways women could relate to their worlds.”

In the initial section a masculine exterior, complete with white shirts and neckties, covers up a fearful approach to life. The fear gives way to exploration of sexuality in the following section, where the individual begins to find power only to find confusion, the third way of relating.

“These are ways we could falsely communicate,” according to Grosser.

In the conclusion of “Some and Others,” she says, “life starts happening,” as dancers reveal how feminine qualities allow the “freedom in being who you are and getting comfortable with who you’re created to be.” She feels that the passion her dancers experience will touch the audience so that they can feel the life-giving qualities Brio has to offer.

Dancers Julia Ostrowski, Robert Keal, Tracey Kogelmann, Rebecca Maciejczyk, Linda Hildebrand, Abby Wilson and Lane Grosser comprise Brio. All seven will appear in Friday’s performance. The curtain will go up at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18, with $2 benefiting Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.

Ann is an Arts and Entertainment correspondent for the Gazette.
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