Dance, in its most encompassing definition, is a communication both visceral and primordial.
Picture the lightning-lit fires of our cave-dwelling ancestors casting flickering shadows on stone walls; silhouetting bodies expanding and contracting in a choreographic attempt to interpret the mysteries of the world they inhabited. Given the precariousness of their Paleolithic times, movement must have served up a warning to clan members of the varied sabre-toothed dangers to be feared and faced.
Dance was a communal language. And Nimbus Dance Works, opening Saturday, May 8, at Brooklyn Academy of Music, seeks out that language.
The lean, handsome artistic director of Nimbus, Sam Pott, strives to communicate his unique vision, which is to make dance accessible to the communities he serves and to reveal the urgencies of the times we all live in.
Pott expresses vis-à-vis his athletic and multiracial troupe (joined by guest choreographer Luca Veggetti) stories of 21st Century sabre-sharp dangers, diminishing natural resources, societal fracturing beneath the weight of social injustice; the splintering of the communal experience at home, at work and in the world.
“I’m glad I found something I deeply care about,” Pott says. “Communication is important. We live in complicated times.”
After injuring his knee early on in his career, Pott studied and later went on to become a certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method, body work aimed at increasing a student’s awareness of self physically and to give greater pleasure in movement. He views his injury pragmatically: Says Pott, “You never know what will mold your choreography. My dance language reflects my studies… My movement comes from the inside out.”
He then executes an elegant movement in slow motion, articulating in a sinuous sequence the working of his muscles from his shoulder to his fingertips, a demonstration of how in body and in life, everything is connected.
Nimbus is something of a miracle. In the 1970s and 80s, small dance companies—like so many cave dwelling fires– proliferated in New York City, still able to survive handily, set up in inexpensive lofts and abandoned warehouses; spaces triple used as homes, rehearsal rooms and often, too, as stages.
Radically changing economic times have brought about a major shift throughout the arts in New York City, pushing companies into retirement or, at best, further out from the center of their former audiences. Nimbus Dance Works resides in Jersey City, and Pott has focused a great deal of energy creating a young audience base; the company’s JC Grooves program serves over 2,000 youths each year in Jersey City Public schools.
Pott, along with other members of Nimbus, teach dance at the School of Nimbus Dance Work: “We have the opportunity to give to the community and the community helps to keep our company together,” he says.
Nimbus Dance Works casts its modern day shadows, seeking to remind us not only of man’s fragile co-existence with nature, but also with one another.
NIMBUS DANCE WORKS
At BAM with NOW Ensemble, Friday, May 8, 8:00pm; Saturday, May 9, 2:00pm and 8:00pm: Saturday evening, post show reception celebrating Nimbus’ 10th Anniversary
Tickets: $25 General, $15 Students/Seniors: Ticket & Sat. Reception: $75 and $150
Venue: BAM Fisher, 321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY 718-636-4100
Note: Saturday 2 PM, Public Forum: Dance, Race and Social Justice
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