SARASOTA -- Some great and well-known choreographers from around the country came to Sarasota in recent weeks to work with Fuzion Dance Artists. The company's ninth annual concert features signature works from choreographers from as far away as New York City and the west coast.
The most impressive work on the program by far, though, was "Joan," a gorgeous meditation on the story of Joan of Ark created by Tampa choreographer Michael Foley.
Foley was on hand for a talk-back after the show. One audience member told Foley that he "couldn't breathe after his piece."
Foley's solemn and thought-provoking work has been performed all over the world. In Sarasota, it was danced beautifully by Fuzion's Jahrel Thompson. It stood out from the other pieces, but those other pieces were all strong.
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Except for "Joan," all the works on the program were rhythmic and most are light-hearted. Adele Myers created a playful new piece, "Introductions," specifically for the Fuzion dancers, with delightfully percussive new music by Edward Cosla.
New York choreographer Larry Keigwin's wonderful multi-part "Mattress Suite" was a hit at last year's Ringling International Arts Festival when his own company performed it, and it's just as enchanting in this show, danced by Elisha Byerly and Thompson. (Different dancers take the roles on Sunday.)
Kira Blazek's nine-person work, "Deluge," ended the first act beautifully with a touch of poignancy. Foley's piece, which intriguingly features a male dancer in a flowing velvet skirt talking the role of Joan, started the second half of the show by stunning the audience. Jennifer Archibald's "Grasp" had a tough task in bringing the audience back into an upbeat mood, but succeeded thanks to Archibald's joyful choreography and the energetic and charismatic performances by the Fuzion dancers.
Details: Through March 15, Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $9.50-$39. Information: 941-359-0099, fuziondance.org.