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The EXCHANGE festival continues to bear creative fruit for me. I keep reflecting on the work shown there, the seriousness and commitment of the artists who participated, and the intense pleasure of sharing insights and experiences as movers and creators and plain old (nothing-plain-about-any-of-us) human beings.

Photographer Maranda van Straten-Blumenthal of BlinkPhoto Tulsa has given me permission to share a few images she captured at the EXCHANGE gala performance on August 6, 2011. The first is Out on a Limb Dance Company in L. Brooke Schlecte’s “Self-Portrait,” a quartet that explored complex ideas about how we present ourselves to ourselves … how that presentation changes over time or in the presence of others … how what we try to show (or “frame”) and who we really are mash up in odd ways. Schlecte’s choreography is surprising, subtle, non-linear. Configurations of dancers that seem to happen spontaneously also cut to the quick of her ideas.

“Self-Portrait,” photo by BlinkPhoto Tulsa

Living Water Dance Company brought Amy McIntosh’s “Eucharistia” to the gala — a meditation on the experience of communion of several different sorts.

“Eucharistia,” photo by BlinkPhoto Tulsa

Next, Rachel Bruce Johnson and I in Melody Ruffin Ward’s “Verse VIII (for joi and hope).” This piece was delicious to dance. Melody took a lot of time with us in rehearsal encouraging us to express her gentle, quiet choreography from the deepest places we could find. It’s a dance about her two daughters — how they come from her, how they are distinct from her, how they are united yet richly individual. A beautiful work.

“Verse VIII,” photo by BlinkPhoto Tulsa

Finally, a moment from Amy Querin’s “FITS! together,” performed by the choreographer and Spencer Ruell. This is a duet that explores and explodes dualities — trust in danger, gentleness in aggression, a storm in the calm. I thought of the biblical word “cleave” throughout this piece, with its fascinating double meaning.

Thanks to Maranda for sharing these images with us, reminding us how lucky we are to be experiencing such rich contemporary dance in Tulsa today.

“FITS! together,” photo by BlinkPhoto Tulsa

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