Justin Bass is the latest local artist, and RDT company member, to take advantage of the RDT Link Series which allows dance makers to access studio and performance space. Justin presented a new trio, “W.A.L.N.U.T.” in the West Studio over the weekend and with lights donated by the University of Utah formalizing the intimate space, there was an openness and sense of possibility. With dancers who were technically precise and committed to the process, that sense was further amplified. As I was leaving I overheard Justin explaining the title’s acronym but averted my ears as I’d made up my own possibilities while watching:
Women are limitless, never underestimate them.
What about letting nothing ulterior takeover?
When are labels needlessly under-taken?
The movement of the all female trio alternated between what feels good to do and what feels fierce to do. Both make sense in context of movement generation in Justin’s living room to Santigold’s 99 Cents. But the dance’s content shifted in a formal direction with Justin opting to stage the material to Terry Riley’s “In C.” There is some humor in the fact that it was a suggestion by Daniel Charon to seek new music that led him to “In C” on Spotify; Charon also choreographed recently to the piece for Ririe Woodbury. Near the end, “W.A.L.N.U.T.” became a bit overwhelmed by the full length of the score but for the most part it’s momentous loops served to drive the material.
All of the dancers (Elle Johansen, Elyse Jost and Tiana Lovett) are deeply physically invested in the choreographic process which will continue to unfold throughout the year with a later performance to be determined. Each dancer has the ability to move in ways that are equal parts intense and cavalier which served Justin’s aesthetic and maintained my interest during long solos and fleeting duets.
As the work develops I consider that its main concern will be continuing to locate itself in a public way; a gestural nature and close community of creators risks insulating it’s current magic if it develops inwardly instead of outwardly.