This is Not the Ballet

Written by Lesly Marroquin

Feel free to clap, tap, dance, and exclaim during the show – remember ladies and gentlemen, this is not the ballet.

Program of the event

On Thursday night, March 14, Dorrance Dance was the at the KPAC performing their repertoires Jungle Blues, Three to One, and Myelination. At the beginning of the show, the audience was told that it was acceptable to show their enjoyment throughout the show. The key way they were told this was said as “this is not the ballet“. Creating an emphasis between this being a presentation of fold art versus fine art.

Audience excited for the show

The show was amazing and very interactive with the purpose of setting moods among the audience. In Jungle Blues and Myelination you had a steady stream of happy applause and whistling. Though, In Three to one, the audience was completely silenced in awe. All the pieces carried specific set emotions and presentation of these emotions. The most important part was that the rhythm of each piece was set through the sounds made by the dancers’ bodies.

At one point, I forgot there was live music. The tap was so loud and prominent to each piece. From traditional tapping of the feet, to sliding, and other taps on their bodies. The show was loud and powerful. The music, bands, and singing never overpowered the tapping of the dancers. I specifically enjoyed the band, since they played blues and had a fun vibe to them.

My favorite piece had to be Three to One. I loved the way the lighting and music made us focus on the dancers’ feet, legs, and bodies. It was so powerful and beautiful. The seemed to invoke the origins of tap during this piece, as I felt it had heavy African dance inspiration. I am interesting in looking up the intended interpretation of the piece because it left such a strong impression.

Overall, the show was wonderful. I had never though of tap dancing as not being fine art. I do not think folk art is bad, but this makes me notice how these distinctions are starting to become blurred. The performers from Thursday night seemed to love their performance on stage and that was incredibly infectious. I saw many people tapping out in the lobby after the show. From children to older adults. This show left an impression and amazed many. This shows the power of folk art, in how it is accessible to many and seem as something that can be shared with anyone/everyone.

Waiting for everyone to file into the show
Taking a bow

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