CINCINNATI, OHIO — Mutual Dance Theatre, Cincinnati’s resident Modern Dance company formerly known as MamLuft&Co. Dance, makes its premiere under its new name. This COVID-conscious event will take place live at the organization’s new home in Hartwell (8222 Monon Ave, 45216).
MūDa choreographer Steven P. Evans and the company jump off of pandemic-induced conditions to explore what it means to feel deserving of a claim to space.
The Modern Dance performance will be like none other, taking place in a unique, studio setting featuring a long, translucent, plastic curtain that defines areas, but also hides and reveals.
Evans, a highly talented Cincinnati-native who worked with well-known Modern Dance choreographers in New York City before returning to Cincinnati, likens the dance performance to a journal entry. Through it, he and the Company process some of the conditions we find ourselves in during the COVID-19 pandemic and how metaphorical masking and distancing had been the norm for many prior to it, such as LGBTQ+ persons attempting to blend-in.
Evans struggled in his youth with severe depression as he attempted to hide his sexual identity. A revelation came to him during COVID-19 that masking was all too familiar to him, and from masking comes separation and misunderstandings. And, from social distancing comes isolation and the familiar loss of critical human connection.
“So many people attempt to retreat from their spaces: hiding behind what they can…they don’t — like I didn’t — think they even deserved space for themselves…Each dancer in this work represents various aspects of self-camouflage, and each is cloaked in misinterpretations.”
When audiences enter the performance space, they are immediately transported into a unique theater experience. They will share space with an enormous plastic curtain — reminiscent of biohazards in films, but also familiar as plastic dividers that have been erected by businesses to protect their workers from the virus. This curtain divides the area and changes during the performance. Audience members can vaguely see what is happening on the other side of the curtain, but given the lack of clarity, masks worn by all, and socially-distanced pod seating, each person immediately feels separation and thus palpably enters into Evans’ world.
The plastic curtain works as a player in this work in multiple ways: it is an intentional homage to COVID-19, it blurs views, it reveals, and it delineates space as very personal or very impersonal.
The performance will take place in a large studio at Mutual Arts Center, the organization’s new home in Hartwell, quickly accessible from I-75 and other local routes by just a 15 minute drive from most parts of the city. Parking on-site is free and ADA-accessible. The organization is fundraising for renovations to fully complete the transformation of the space into a performance studio theater.
In this performance, Mutual Dance Theatre (formerly MamLuft&Co. Dance) introduces several new performers previously unseen by Cincinnati audiences: Hannah Neff, Rowan Salem, Jacob Shade, Jasmine Snellen, and Emma Raney (guest artist); in addition to Hannah Williamson and Claire Dieringer who return from previous seasons. Click here for photos.
Performances are Fridays at 8pm & Saturdays at 3pm & 8pm.
Tickets are $60-$125 depending on the size of your pod and are available online at https://www.mutualdance.org/archive/space/
Seats will be sold in distanced “pods” wherein a household can share a cluster of 4-5 seats and will be spaced safely from other “pods.” Masks will be worn by all persons: performers, audience members, and front-of-house. COVID-19 screening will take place upon entry, with temperature checks, a masks-required-at-all-times explanation/reminder, and questions regarding symptoms and exposure. More information can be found at mutualdance.org/space#covid.
Mutual Dance Theatre was founded to create more access to Modern Dance. We believe that all income levels should have the pleasure of attending live performances. Free admission will be provided to persons of low-income. Patrons are encouraged to contact the organization at 513.494.6526 or email@example.com for assistance.