'Interior Landscape of the Emotional Mind'

Chaddick Dance Theater's latest explores movement through a movable feast

Big dance, little space: Maia McCoy in Holding
Big dance, little space: Maia McCoy in "Holding" (Photo courtesy of Rene Michaels/Dancedigitals.com)

Most of the time, the only people moving at a dance performance are the dancers. But for Chaddick Dance Theater's Interior Landscape of the Emotional Mind, opening Friday for a two-weekend run, the audience will also be moving – not in any overtly artistic way, mind you, but from space to space within the Ballet Austin headquarters on West Third to find those folk who will be moving in overtly artistic ways doing just that. See, Artistic Director Cheryl Chaddick has developed this production as a sort of progressive dinner of dance, with each course served in a separate area – dance studio, corridor, foyer, fire escape – for which the corresponding dance was choreographed. Her inspiration for this series of site-specific performances was the human capacity to process emotions; our feelings can be so different, ranging from fear to hope, from joy to sorrow, and we experience each in its own distinct way. So it made sense to Chaddick to find distinct environments that would help her more readily express some of those singular emotional states in movement.

Because most of these spaces are, shall we say, cozy, each performance's audience will be divided into three groups, with each group touring the show's first six locations in a different order. Only for the seventh and final dance will the entire audience be reassembled, along with the full 10-member company of dancers. But while that finale occurs in the relatively spacious Armstrong/Connelly Studio, don't expect the intimacy to end. The audience will be seated in the round, with dancers close enough that it will be able to hear not only their every footfall, but every breath they take. Calling a creative work a "journey" and "up close and personal" has become cliched, but this is one performance where those terms truly do apply.

Interior Landscape of the Emotional Mind will be performed Feb. 22-March 3, Friday, 9pm; Saturday, 8 & 10pm; Sunday, 7pm, at Ballet Austin, 501 W. Third. For more information, visit www.chaddickdancetheater.com.

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Interior Landscape of the Emotional Mind, Austin dance, Chaddick Dance Theater, Cheryl Chaddick

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