Dance: Powerful Creation




Sun Shines on Meadow, Dancers in Unique Piece
MV Times Staff

Choreographer Wendy Taucher must have spoken with the gods, because Sunday was a beautiful sunny Mother's Day that brought a couple of hundred people out to Nat's Farm Meadow to watch one of those spectacular community experiences unique to the Island.

But it was not only the good weather that made “Silk Meadow,” the combined effort of Sheriff's Meadow Foundation and The Yard, a success.

Yellow ribbons rippled and glowed in the tall grasses surrounding the circular dance area and lining the pathway leading into the center of the meadow. The performance area was mowed clear and two large stacks of hay on either side of the space were set with small pyramids on top.

The dance stayed within the bounds of the haystacks, used once for the Kids to duck behind, but otherwise just a visual part of the work and not noticeably connected with the rest of the setting or the dancers.

One of the fabulous elements of this dance was the combination of professional and amateur performers. Ms. Taucher's choreography gave everyone an opportunity to shine within the four parts of the dance, which was intended to express feelings and images of the ocean and the Island.

The dance began with Colette Berge, as the Visitor, like a sunrise, her golden-yellow and burnt orange costume billowing in the breeze. Four dancers in colors of the sea flowed around her. The serenity of the field was mirrored by the movements of those dancers, and as the ribbons on their costumes waved along with their motions, Beethoven and a representation of the water's presence surrounded everyone.

As the piece continued, the effort and dedication of many Islanders was hard to miss.

Richard Hirschfeld one of the Strollers, took front and center stage as he playfully created an imaginary ocean, running toward the water and then hurrying away as it chased him back onto the beach. While he did this, and then seemingly threw a rock, other performers also feigned playing along the shore. A couple holding hands, dance by Marilyn and Bob Heitman, marveled and pointed at what they “saw” around them.

Several Islanders who have been seen in other local dances, among them Avi Lev and Kristin Maloney, displayed serious professional effort. Their movements were concentrated as they wove through and around the other dancers. As two of the Strollers, Wiet Bacheller and Lynn Whiting, both Island teachers, brought a feeling of calm appreciation of the surroundings, mingling and interacting with the illusion of a beach scene around them.

Kids Get Into the Act
Several siblings performed with maturity, Anjali and Priyanka Nardi, as the Wind Girls, danced like the steady breeze as they guided the Kids, executed by Island public school students. Kelly, Sarah, and Will Felder and Jasper and Tristan Roseman-Wilson all traveled through the dance together to fill the large field with playful movements. All of the Kids gracefully handled their parts and the complexity of working in a dance with so many performers.

“Silk Meadow,” which lasted about 45 minutes, was timed carefully, but allowed for the unexpected. Ms. Taucher waited a few extra moments to start one of the music cues so that the bicyclists traveling behind the field would become part of the piece. What a terrific way to connect so much of what Sheriff's Meadow Foundation has to offer with the creativity of dance. Towards the end of the composition, Ms. Taucher cast her own mother, Evalyn Taucher, who danced as if she were flying along the edge of the haystack. The distant hum from a small plane accompanied her flight, as if it was a planned entry into the silent break from music.

After the dance ended, Ms. Taucher kept repeating of her opportunity to work on the piece, “It was a blast.”

   Copyright © Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theater, NYC, Martha's Vineyard. All rights reserved.