The Choreography of New Dances: Wade Schaaf and Dancer, Net

Wade Schaaf (Photo by Cheryl Mann, courtesy of Thodos Dance Chicago)

Wade Schaaf's new work "Dancer, Net" was inspired by the concept of French impressionist painter Claude Monet's Haystack series, which "is known for its thematic use of repetition to show differences in perception of light across various times of day, seasons and types of weather" (Wikipedia). Even the title of the work, "Dancer, Net" reflects the conventions of painting, where a work will often be identified by it's subject ("Wheatstacks (End Of Summer)") and the way it is made ("Oil on Canvas"). In "Dancer, Net" Schaaf creates three separate solos, each of which features the same soloist and the same net-like fabric bag. The three solos are performed separately, at different points during the concert program, thereby accentuating the impact of the changing perspective from which an audience will see them. Schaaf's most recent work was a successful large-ensemble piece ("Awakening"), and in turning his creative vision to the more raw, more immediately-apparent movements of a solo work, he is able to explore in detail the many facets of a single subject.

"Solo 1" has an elegant, and yet intimate quality. The net is both prop and partner, perhaps even the medium in which the soloist works as an artist, and the perspective is light-hearted. "Solo 2" captures a completely different side of the subject, this time with the dynamic edge of performance art, while "Solo 3" is the most narrative of the three visions. It's the story of finding yourself, but with the hesitance and uncertainty of a fawn finding its legs and standing up for the first time.

In "Dancer, Net", Schaaf is as much in harmony with astronomy as with painting. Astronomers often have no way to measure the distance to far-away objects except by parallax, "the apparent displacement ... of an object viewed along two different lines of sight" (Wikipedia). The word comes from the Greek, where it means "alteration", and "Dancer, Net" is a study in how our perception alters what we know, or think we know. Wade Schaaf has a painter's eye for difference and detail, and in "Dancer, Net" he shares that with his audience with three parallax-like observations to create a truly original perspective.

Thodos Dance Chicago’s NEW DANCES 2010 will be presented July 16 and 17 at 8PM and on Sunday July 18 at 5PM at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, 1306 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago 60605. (312) 369-8330


Sharon Joyce Kung and "Just Before Now"
Brian Hare and "Temporary Proof"
Wade Schaaf and "Dancer, Net"
Jacqueline Stewart and "Jiffy Pop"
Joshua Manculich and "____versus____"
Danielle Scanlon and "Heart Strings"
Francisco Avina & Sephanie Martinez Bennitt and "Quieting the Clock"
Jeremy Blair and "2:00 AM, Delancy St."
Jessica Miller Tomlinson and "Big Technique"

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