dance

Sneak Peak: Bandaloop Rehearses at OZ

Bandaloop rehearses "Harboring" for their performances this week at OZ in Nashville.

Bandaloop rehearses “Harboring” for their performances this week at OZ in Nashville.

When I told you about Bandaloop, the vertical dance performance group that will be staging “Harboring” at OZ this weekend, I had no idea that I’d be getting a sneak peak! NYCnash was a lucky plus-one this evening for the dress rehearsal. Here’s what I thought:

“Harboring” is an hour long that feels like twenty minutes. Beginning outdoors on a vertical stage and heading in for performances on two more stages, it features dance and aerial arts with a bit of silent film style acting, especially from the group’s wonderful founder, Amelia Rudolph. The dancers often work in pairs, the men embracing each other as often as they do the women in the ensemble. In two striking pairings, the dancers belay each other, each tied to the end of a rope attached to a pulley. The title of the performance is curious, for the only “harbor” I found was in the dancers’ interactions with each other. Could it be a comment on the safety we find in our relationships, the security in an embrace, the comfort in belonging?

Opening act of Bandaloop's "Harboring," performing in Nashville this weekend.

Opening act of Bandaloop’s “Harboring,” performing in Nashville this weekend at OZ.

Anytime I try to apply meaning to dance, I end up sounding like an idiot, so I’ll stop there. I loved “Harboring,” and it would have easily been worth the $52.50 if I hadn’t been so lucky. The lighting and sound complement the dancers, not drowning them out or showing off. (Although they will have a jazz trio playing during the shows!) Be warned though: it’s not all vertical building jumping, but the big stunts are punctuated because of the smaller, often playful moments that come in between.  Rudolph’s choreography moved me from suspense, to calm contemplation, to elation, with many moments of awe throughout.

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Bandaloop performs “Harboring” at OZ in Nashville this weekend.

abrasiveMedia Opens in Houston Station

It’s not just the pews and stained glass. abrasiveMedia’s new space has a holiness about it—a grandness. At their opening in early May, trapeze artists and arial dancers hung from the ceiling beams; painters worked in the hallway, unhindered by the prying eyes of passersby; the curious circled the perimeter, checking out the local art. abrasiveMedia was founded in 2004, and a decade later, it finds a rightful new home in Houston Station.

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According to abrasiveMedia’s mission statement, the organization “exists to help artists grow, connect, and produce. We facilitate and advocate for artists in Nashville, while building relationships within the artistic community and making excellent art more accessible for our city.” It hosts four dance companies and various visual artists, as well as writers, photographers, musicians, and web designers. Tony Youngblood interviews exec director Audra Almond-Harvey in Nashville Arts here. 

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The org offers classes in ballet, ariel fabric, trapeze, and kickboxing, among others. It’s cooking up fantastic programming for kids, including pop-up Super Squad camps. And their prices are reasonable for studios and desk rentals.

Right now, they’re showing a fun series: David Landry’s Kickstarter-funded, giant graphic novel “The Anomaly.” “Imagine walking inside a steampunk comic book;” he writes, “that is how big this is going to be.”

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With its prime location, abrasiveMedia will be a sure stop on future We-Ho art crawls.

Houston Station is too gorgeous. It’s refurbished and renovated—an urban loft space with unfinished wooden beams, slick hard wood floors, and exposed brick, and even random vintage furniture sitting in rooms that are otherwise uninhabited. It’s even got a freight train that barrels past the back door. It touts itself as the new center for events, art, and music in Nashville.” I’m curious how much it costs to rent a space; the web site doesn’t list prices. It also calls itself “Nashville’s one-stop shop for event, art, and music needs.” To me, the little pockets of creativity and artistic presence in Nashville are wonderful; I wouldn’t want them all in one place. That said, aside from its swaggering website, the space makes a beautiful new home for abrasiveMedia. 

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