Eclectic Edge Ensemble

“A contemporary jazz dance company with a diverse repertory, Eclectic Edge Ensemble collaborates with local musicians, choreographers, and other artists to create musically and theatrically inspired work. The company aims to present a fresh perspective on jazz dance in the Twin Cities, creating accessible performance experiences that connect to audiences through the pure joy of movement.”

Last time you saw Eclectic Edge at the Cabaret was the March Kinetic Kitchen. Karis Sloss says, “It was such a wonderful experience to be a part of a show that embraced so many forms of dance, and brought artists together to watch and support each other.” She immediately asked Sarah, the guest curator,  if they could be part of it the next year, and Sarah agreed.

Sloss, who has been dancing since the age of two, formed Eclectic Edge Ensemble the spring of 2002, after graduating from the U of M with a major in Dance and Theater Arts. “I have always known that I wanted to have a dance company that was a true ensemble and explored different forms of jazz,” she says. “I am so fortunate to have such a talented and supportive group of dancers. They have really helped me get EEE off the ground and moving forward. I have kept focused on all of my goals, and we keep plugging away.”

The piece they will be performing this weekend is called “Common Ground.” With music by Regina Carter–“rich with layers of differing rhythms, beats and melodies”–ten women explore “outer expression of control and strength, to inner feelings of fears and questions, and finally celebration and joy with others.”

For more information on Eclectic Edge, check out the website (www.eclecticedgeensemble.com), and be sure to attend their upcoming prdouction at the Ritz “For Sports’ Sake” July 15th-18th, 2010.

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Amy Trayers

Our next performer, Amy Trayers, is very excited to be making her Patrick’s Cabaret debut! I’m personally dying of jealousy over her that she’s performing (and awesomely) at only twelve, but she says “I am simply a young choreographer, who used to (and still does) crank up my favorite song and start singing and dancing without a care in the world, as other teens do… I want [the audience] to see that ANYBODY can choreograph; I especially want them to understand how Mr. Gershwin felt as he was dying and realizing he could no longer play his pieces. I hope I can speak to people through this dance; tell them to remember Gershwin, a musical genius whose music and memory is still alive today.”

Her performance this weekend has grown from a school project on George Gershwin: she “had to do a project about him and his life. Mr. Gershwin died of a brain tumor, and actually started experiencing his symptoms during a show when he became very dizzy and stopped playing for a few seconds. I listened to his ‘Second Prelude’ about 300 gazillion times, and let the steps just flow out of me. Choreographing dances is one of my favorite parts of dancing. I can express myself and other people’s feelings through my dancing.”

Her influences include Sir Kenneth MacMillan, especially his ballets, and her teacher Andrew Rist, in some of whose ballets she’s performed and all of which she’s loved. “It’s amazing watching him come up with brilliant moves right on the spot and being able to see his creative process.”

Kinetic Kitchen–Ray Terrill Dance Group

Yup, it’s that time again–Kinetic Kitchen!  Head on down this weekend for a whole lotta awesome. You will not be disappointed.

Ray Terrill took his first modern dance class, at the age of twenty-two, entirely by accident– and “instantaneously recognized that I was home.” He knew that dance was it for him, that it would “without question would sustain my interest and passion for the rest of my life.” He has been dancing for thirty-three years now, so it looks like that’s holding true! He fnished, “Creating and performing dance provides complete intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical fulfillment offering the opportunity to explore humanity.”

He has previously performed at the Cabaret as part of the Christopher Watson Dance Company, and his own group was onstage as part of a modern dance showcase a few years back. He originally moved to the Twin Cities because he intended to quit dancing. He was getting to a certain age; support for the arts in general, and funding for modern dance in particular, had reached a low point; and he didn’t relish the struggle of establishing his cred in a whole new town. As far as dancing went, he was going to be done with it.

Fate laughed really, really hard for awhile, and then got him a ticket to the Christopher Watson Dance Studio grand opening.

Long uneasy with a dance-less identity, Ray pondered taking some classes–and eventually ended up a member of the staff. Later Christopher invited him to perform with his company, and then to join its board of directors (he is still a member). However, “while I enjoyed performing with Christopher, I did miss the creative side of dance. So, gradually I began to make dances and formalize commitments to dancers.” Eventually it turned out that the Twin Cities had an infrastructure that could sustain far more dancers than that in Seattle or Portland. “At this stage of my dance life I am completely happy to work my day job and be able to produce my own work and present in showcases and fringe festivals. My feeling now is to just keep going until it feels right to stop.”

Let’s hope that’s a long ways off yet. But just in case, come out this weekend to see his group perform “State of Grace!” You will be moved.