Extensions Dance Company’s 2010 showcase, which took place Saturday at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, was not only a great concert, it was in many ways a unique experience, the kind of experience that can be difficult to place in a specific category. It was a Dance Concert in the traditional sense, a presentation of dance pieces that each featured excellent performance and inspired design, and that flowed convincingly from one to another. It was also very much a showcase; the program provided an in-depth presentation of the abilities and accomplishments of the Company dancers, both individually and in ensemble works. It was also a celebration of the fifth anniversary of Extensions Dance, a celebration of a remarkably successful season for the Company, and a celebration of the contributions of two Extensions performers, Miranda Borkan and Natalie Pearson, both of whom will attend the prestigious Alvin Ailey / Fordham University partnership program in New York.
For Dan Agosto and I, it was also the chance to see Lizzie MacKenzie’s beautiful work “Time Now”, set to the ‘ohana Dreamdance tracks “Some Time” and “Time Now”, both of which were composed expressly for this piece. I’m not sure it would be possible to describe how rewarding it was to see that performance, or to express how inspiring it is to see such mesmerizing dedication in a Company that you’ve collaborated with.
The concert included three guest appearances, and I remembered reading in a concert program a few years ago --- before I had ever worked with Lizzie or Eddy -- about Lizzie MacKenzie, Eddy Ocampo and Nick Pupillo, and their shared, but exceptional commitment to the artistic development of young dancers. So it wasn’t surprising to see really excellent performances by Forum Jazz Dance Theatre (”Black Petal”) and Visceral Studio Company (”Sweep”), in addition to a stunning solo by Ricky Ruiz of River North Chicago Dance Company. I couldn't help noticing that the driving focus that is one of the really characteristic features of Extensions performances was also vividly clear in the FJDT, Visceral, and Ricky Ruiz performances, and this may be one of the reasons why the evening seemed to go by so fast. When artists are completely committed to each moment in their performance, they can often defy time and reality.