Summer in Rochester usually offers audiences little in the way of dance. However, for the third summer in a row, the Multi-Use Community Cultural Center will host a contemporary dance festival.
Dances at MuCCC 2016, a festival of contemporary dance, runs from Tuesday, June 21, through Saturday, June 25, and will pull from a wide array of work from 21 choreographers as well as four poets.
The festival features contributions from local companies, such as Biodance and Hanlon Dance and Compnay, and Rochester-based choreographers, like Rosalie Jones of Daystar Dance, as well as performances by visiting artists from Toronto, Brazil, and across the United States. There are three different evenings of programs, two of which will repeat.
Laurie MacFarlane and Ruben Ornelas created and coordinated the festival, and chose MuCCC as their venue because of its openness to dance.
"We developed a relationship with MuCCC because they have been interested in having more contemporary dance on their stage," MacFarlane says. "We could help make that happen while showing people the diversity of contemporary dance in Rochester."
The dance program is all contemporary or modern dance, "but within that framework there are some improvisational pieces and some more formal abstract works. Also some dance theater," MacFarlane says.
Hanlon Dance and Company can be seen during the program on Thursday and Saturday. Hanlon and local dancer and choreographer Alaina Olivieri will perform a 10-minute duet they choreographed, a premiere that is part of a larger, developing dance theater work entitled "Through the Roof of Your Mouth." The work — which "explores sexuality and violence as creative mechanisms for movement," Hanlon says — stems from his recent digital image gallery exhibit, "Void," at Nu Movement as well as from his work as a visiting artist at Nazareth College this year.
Biodance, headed by artistic director Missy Pfohl Smith, also performs on Thursday and Saturday. The company will preview a new piece analyzing prescription drug use, "Possible Side Effects," choreographed by Jeanne Schickler Compisi, as part of its ongoing "BIO/DANCE & Social Justice" series.
The festival opens on Tuesday with a dance and spoken word program that will include local poets Eddie Swayze, Audrey Sowell, Justin Rielly, and Isabel Almeida. MacFarlane and Ornelas will perform new solos; local choreographer Donna Davenport and conceptual artist John Borek will present their collaboration, "Learn to Dance in 10 Minutes or Less!"; and local choreographer Anne Harris Wilcox will show work. Emerging choreographers Ethan Beckwith-Cohen, Molly Naef, and Emily Dove are on the bill for the opening evening as well.
Wednesday features pieces from Kathy Diehl, Wilcox, Davenport, Ornelas, and Dove, and work from California-based choreographers Shannon Stubblefield and Caroline Liviakis. Returning artists Gina Bonati from New York City, Leigh Ann Kabatra from New Jersey, and Marcelo Kuna from Brazil are also part of this evening's program. Kuna's piece "Passaros" is inspired by the final bird attack scene in Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 film "The Birds." The entire program repeats on Friday.
Alongside the Hanlon-Olivieri and Biodance works, the Thursday and Saturday program features a dance theater piece from Torontonian Norma Araiza, a Yoeme performer and choreographer who incorporates traditional Native American themes into contemporary dance movement. Another piece, "Small Talk," involves a collaboration between Katherine Marino of Push Physical Theatre, dancer Elyssia Primus, and musician Tasha George-Hinnant. And choreographer Kaitley Wozer will premiere a new work, "In Willow's Absence." Performances by Jones and Kuna complete this program.