The Austin Chronicle

Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company's Everything! Everything! Everything!

The achievement of this new work is that it lives up to its name, including all that is remarkable about KDHDC

Reviewed by Robert Faires, June 7, 2019, Arts

As two performers danced entrancingly in the open expanse of the stage, a third stood behind a screen door at an upstage corner and watched them. In a short time, she would open the door and step through it to add her own movement to what was already going on, but the look on her face before she did wasn't that of a performer marking time until she was to enter; this was the look of a performer observing her colleagues' work and truly enjoying and admiring their artistry. That kind of appreciation isn't uncommon among performing artists, but it's usually hidden in the wings, beyond the audience's view. This took place where those of us in the house could see it clearly, and we saw it repeatedly in Everything! Everything! Everything!, the work that closed the 19th season of the Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company: dancers visible through screen doors, taking pleasure in their fellows' twisting, turning, spinning, stretching, and rolling around before joining in on the fun.

The moments of dancers connecting with their eyes as well as their hands, arms, legs, and backs weren't limited to those doorway looks, either. Here, two company members about to start a duet made eye contact and smiled. There, two who finished dancing together did the same. A dancer crossing to a screen door as she was exiting shot a quick glance over her shoulder at a dancer she'd passed, then flashed an approving grin. The fact that these bits of visual interaction and mutual regard kept happening, and that we were able to witness them, reinforced our sense of these dancers as an ensemble, yes, but it also elevated the bond they shared to one of camaraderie, which made their mutual creation that much more special.

This quality has been apparent in other works by KDHDC, and having seen it so often, it's come to feel essential to the company's character. The fluidity and elegance of the movement could be at the highest professional level, but without that eye contact, those smiles, and the connections they represent – that esprit de corps – well, it just wouldn't be a KDHDC dance.

Which made it especially significant that such company spirit was present in Everything! Everything! Everything! This was a new work, but made in a somewhat different way than other new works the company has presented. Artistic Director Hamrick started by revisiting some of her older material and lifting elements from it – movement, music, set pieces – and combining them in a new context. What could have been a reprise of disconnected memorable moments from projects past – an album of KDHDC's greatest hits – was rather a work that encompassed what the company is about, what makes it distinctive and valuable in our dance ecosystem. And so there was the graceful twirling, circle after circle after circle, and the great sweeps of arms; the arms outstretched and legs splayed, as if full extensions were the body's natural, default position; the gestures rooted in compassion: hand on shoulder, hand on back, hand in hand, catching a falling body or pulling one up from the floor or lifting one, always gently; bodies draping across each other and fitting together like tongue in groove; and the humor – always a touch of comedy. The achievement of Everything! Everything! Everything! was that it lived up to its name, including all that is remarkable about Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company (well, almost all, since Alyson Dolan wasn't in it). The fullness of it left those of us in the audience observing the dance behind our own screen doors, enjoying and admiring their artistry with an approving smile.

Everything! Everything! Everything!

Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside
June 2

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