The traditional presentation of dance has grown increasingly inaccessible in these times, and often the staging of a performance is an artistic expression all its own. On the evening of June 17, in the basement and backyard of a suburban home in Draper, I attended one such act of performance. At its heart, An Evening of Reflection was an informal gathering of friends and family for the purpose of appreciating the creation of art, celebrated over champagne and casual conversation. A small gallery of paintings by Tarynn Kerr paired beautifully with the sunset and queer themes of the concert.
The show opened with “Geeses Pieces,” a cheeky reflection on the absurdity of aphorisms in the “Live, Laugh, Love” school of thought. Performed and choreographed by Victoria Raider and Hunter Hazard, the dancers paraded a series of quaint home-decor platitudes before the audience, each met with increasingly manic positivity and laughter. Flighty dance embraced the inherent silliness of the mantras before rising into an acknowledgement of the sometimes uncomfortable truths at their center.
In the next piece, “Finite Moments,” Franky DeMartino’s emotional floorwork was accompanied by an electronic poetry reading, robotically musing on love and loss. Hunter Hazard’s winding and reversing choreography cast long shadows behind dramatic red, painting the despairing movements in an almost alien light.
The third number, “Safe Unsafe,” choreographed by Franky DeMartino, featured two duets: the first a gay romance full of sultry lifts and intertwining limbs performed by Nathaniel Woolley and Hunter Hazard; the second a series of retreating embraces where lovers Franky DeMartino and Victoria Rader grasped at dwindling intimacy. The duets starkly contrasted the duality of relationships—masculine and feminine, joy and grief, growing together and breaking apart.
The final piece, “Our Right Hearts,” choreographed and performed by Eliza Kitchens, Becca Speechley, and Hunter Hazard, began with an exercise in self-hype set to an ecstatically shouted “I Have Confidence.” Then, wearing billowing dresses against mirror ball mood lighting, the scene became like an intimate sleepover, where queer friends examined their own reflections and their relationships to each other. A spot-lit duet unwound into the dancers rhythmically worshipping at an altar of Christmas lights and childhood toys, singing it heartfelt songs while cradling their shared feelings. Scattered lights from a disco ball, swung like a partner, illuminated a final bittersweet solo.
This article is published in collaboration with loveDANCEmore.org.
Nolan Williams is a professional and creative writer that is passionate about local art, despite being new to dance in Salt Lake City. He feels grateful to have learned so much about movement and expression already, and looks forward to experiencing more of what this welcoming community has to offer.
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