The Annex Dance Company took over the City Gallery at Waterfront Park on Tuesday for a one-night-only performance of “The Path Taken,” a site-specific piece created for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
Choreographed by Kristin Alexander, Annex’s artistic director, the performance consisted of five sections with each section located in a different part of the gallery. Dancers occupied both floors of the space, sometimes simultaneously. Strategic pauses were staged between sections to allow the audience to take in the performance from multiple vantage points.
Performed by Alexander, Maggie Bailey, Heather Bybee, Cathy Cabaniss and Julie DeLizza, the show was highly immersive; the dancers even intermingled with the audience at times. Each dance felt more intimate than the next, creating a nearly palpable intensity in the room. The dancers moved through the fluid choreography with grace and determination. Each section built upon the last, with the first section consisting of serene, yoga-like movements and the final section possessing an almost urgent quality.
The use of space added a complexity to the choreography that was fascinating to watch. Pillars, benches and railings were all folded into the layers of the performance. The dances were perhaps most interesting to watch from above, as the work was designed to be viewed from a variety of angles. It was a beautiful use of a non-traditional space.
Michael Wall composed an original score for the show that complemented the dances without stealing focus. The music had a subtle intensity to it that underscored the emotion of the piece well. Much like the choreography, the music started out gently, with hints of piano, and became louder and more intense by the final song.
Well-crafted and innovative, “The Path Taken” was a well-conceived highlight of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
Haley Chouinard is a Goldring Arts Journalist from Syracuse University.