Wild Space Dance brings the “Snow

Laura Streyle

It falls on your nose and eyelashes, it is the stuff of Frosty and forts, and it was the sparkling muse of the dancers from Wild Space Dance Company during their performance last Friday night. It is snow!
Out of Milwaukee, Wild Space is our dance company-in-residence here at Lawrence. They are a unique group, whose founder/choreographer, Debra Loewen, has been more than willing to explore new expressive territory in the world of dance. They have become a company that is “known for site-specific works and artistic collaborations . merging contemporary dance with text, architecture and visual art to develop innovative performances.”
The experimental spirit of Wild Space flourished on the Stansbury stage Friday night through their performance of their winter program, “Snow!” The dancers expressed the various connections that we have with snow, how it is cold and how it is beautiful; it is nostalgic and unrelenting.
“The dances offered this evening are a delightful mix of physical beauty, wit, power, and of course the white stuff,” wrote Loewen.
Against a backdrop of projected photographs depicting snow-covered cars and buildings, a dancer pulled a toboggan across the stage with painstakingly slow movements. He was communicating a struggle that was familiar to a crowd of Wisconsin-dwellers: the struggle to face the monotony of a cold and snowy winter. This was the opening of the second number, “1947.”
The next dance was introduced by a dancing Snow Fairy, Lawrence’s very own Kyle Brauer. Sporting a white tutu and brown leather boots, Brauer added a light-hearted shimmer to the evening’s show. Titled “Eight Feet Deep,” this number portrayed the warmer relationship that people can have with snow. Bundling up in hats, mittens, scarves, and long johns, the playfulness of children in the snow came alive on stage.
Snow angel making, wrestling, sliding and snowball throwing ensued. When the dancers “came in” from the cold, it might be said that things got a little spicy as hats and mittens came off.
After intermission, the dancers moved to more lyrical and continuous music, with flowing operatic voices and orchestras of intense motifs. The closing dance, titled “Whiteout,” was an exhausting piece that was both energizing and captivating.
While it was difficult at times to confront snow in a setting that is normally associated with warmth, Wild Space’s “Snow!” showed the audience the continuity between the cold outside and the warmth within.