In Case You Missed It
Boulderganic Fall 2009
Student Guide 2009
Boulder Weekly Sweet 16 Anniversary
Summer Scene 2009
Best of Boulder 2009
Annual Manual 2009
Newspaper of the Future
Kids Camp Guide 2009
Wedding Marketplace 09
Student Guide 2008
Best of Boulder 2008
Annual Manual 2008
Join Our Mailing List
|April 23-29, 2009
3rd Law brings multi-media dance/theater to the stage
by Irene Joyce
I’m not a choreographer who wants every dancer to look the same,” says Katie Elliott. “I want them to breath together but not necessarily the same oxygen.”
Elliott has an aesthetically gifted artistic eye and a background in graphic design, which informs her contribution as co-director and choreographer of 3rd Law Dance/Theater. As partners in love, life and artistic endeavors, Elliot and Jim LaVita discuss concepts for performances together and develop them in “complete collaboration.” This weekend marks the showcasing of 3rd Law’s 9th annual, full-evening production of original, multi-media work since its conception in 2001. The goal of the company is “not to put on entertainment,” which they understand can be a great tool, but to “do what they do — and if people like it, that is great.”
This year, in collaboration with Philip C. Sneed (producing artistic director of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival) and Clare Henkel (CSF costume designer) — another artistically engaged couple — a variety of skills were crossed during the evolution of their latest work, titled Till We Wake.
Elliott shapes the choreographic elements with the modern and classically trained dancers (some of whom have been with 3rd Law for the duration of its existence, and even one extraordinary woman who continually travels from Santa Fe, N.M., to be involved) and composes found-sound collages for the largely original score. One of her major strengths is her ability to milk the human psyche through an emotional lens, creating flow and affectation for each production.
LaVita, on the other hand, works to generate contextual and cultural detail. With a doctorate. in dance ethnography, LaVita informs the work from an academic perspective, enriching the elements that make this a unique “dance” company concerned with much more than beautiful lines and athleticism.
The performing ensemble for the upcoming dance/theater evening includes nine dedicated 3rd Law dancers, as well as Sneed and Elliott. Till We Wake reveals and explores “uncanny similarities between the world we inherit today and the world just dawning when [T.S.] Eliot wrote ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ — considered by many the opening salvo of the modernist movement.”
While describing the use of a “narrative arc” or the “imagist narrative” and explaining the reasons to employ this creative angle, LaVita imparts that the “armature” is their responsibility to build.
“We like to hang a clothesline on which the audience can hang their stories,” says Elliott.
In other words, the audience member’s job is to actively engage and reflect. This seems like a relatively simple request, but in a time when “reality” has been reduced to a series of manipulated MTV shows, we often forget this. As conscious citizens, we are all artists in our own way, meeting the material of our shared lives from different points and perspectives.
Throughout American history, local artistic communities have played an important role in social and political change. In the past, 3rd Law has dealt with profound themes, such as free will, faith, natural disaster, dreams, aging, emigration, loss of spirituality and technological advancement. In essence, 3rd Law addresses what it means to be an active, conscious member of society.
But 3rd Law resists being categorized as a group of activists. Instead, they insist they are simply a group of “socially aware” artists
dealing with relevant issues.
“Our purpose is not to provide our audience with answers to their questions,” says Elliot. “My aim is that they leave the theater asking, ‘What does it mean to me?’”
Discussing what it means to be an artist, Elliott commented that, ironically, we “have to get away from the question, ‘What did that mean?’ in order to broaden our scope of language and understanding.”
“The language of dance cannot alone transmit the complexities of these concepts,” says LaVita.
This conscious artistic approach confirms 3rd Law’s sensible foundation, and it opens up numerous points of entry for artistically interested people to engage with their productions. 3rd Law’s concerts are unique, yet accessible, which is an asset to the arts-and-entertainment world, as well as to the other human communities they affect.
This chance to see 3rd Law Dance/Theater in action — fusing dance, theater, poetry, film, music and experimental soundscapes — is not to be missed.
On the Bill:
3rd Law Dance/Theater performs Till We Wake through May 9 at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826.
back to top