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KAIROS Dance Theater graces the RIC stage

Olivia Barone

Arts & Entertainment Editor

In collaboration with choreographer Paula Josa-Jones, KAIROS Dance Theater graced the RIC stage last week with three unique performances. The dancers utilized their talents to guide the audience through stories of hardship, companionship and self identity.

KAIROS Dance Theater aims to use their narratives to start conversations surrounding social issues. Centered in Boston, this theater collaborates with company dancers and artists of multiple disciplines to create immersive performances with a message. Awarded residencies at Rhode Island College, Salem State University, Roger Williams University, URBANO Project, SPOKE, The Dance Complex and Boston Center for the Arts, the KAIROS Dance Theater knows no bounds.

Photo by Olivia Barone

Paula Josa-Jones acted as the performance’s guest choreographer and collaborator. Her style infused into each performance was clear: emotionally rich with an eerie twist that resonated with RIC’s audience until each curtain call. Dubbed “one of the country’s leading choreographic conceptualists” by the Boston Globe, Jones was an honored guest that RIC’s own Nazarian Center welcomed with open arms.

Jones was joined by executive and artistic director and choreographer DeAnna Pellecchia. A Boston local, Pellecchia is recognized as one of her home-city’s most prominent artists. The Boston Herald has commended Pellecchia for her work as a “committed and daring performer,” due to the creativity that fuels her work.

The first performance of the night, titled “Kyiv,” acted as an ode to Ukraine and its people. As the lights dimmed, screens to the left and right portrayed the devastation that plagues not only Ukraine’s people, but their homes and communities. Dancers crawled from their places stowed away in the dark, dragging themselves towards the stage on their hands and knees; their camouflage costumes reminiscent of troops. They clasped hands, guiding each other onto the stage where battle commenced. We watched as they staggered under fire, hauled the bodies of their fallen and joined together as one body, swaying with the music.

“Cavallus” was the second performance and featured a lone dancer and a saddle. It explored the steadfast relationship between human and horse in honor of Jones’s stallion, Capriccio. Inspired by the poem, “My Hunger” by Jane Hirshfield, the performance portrayed the beauty of companionship and the capability to become one with a steed. The dancer adorned a black gown of which she lifted to reveal her perch: a saddle atop a wooden body. The audience was quickly entranced by the mystery of the narrative and captured by the connection between horse and rider.

The final performance, “Husk/Vessel,” portrayed five dancers and the weight of their self-perceptions. Each danced with a white sheet that offered stunning visuals as the fabric became an extension of each dancer. It flowed freeform with their movements, but as representation of their ties to self-identity, it weighed them down. Their limbs became tangled in their sheets as they fought to separate themselves. They ultimately became one with the fabric, as the music voiced their struggle, each dancer given the chance to show their attempt at fighting against self-perception.

I attended the showing with my Mom, a RIC alumni who danced from childhood and taught dance into her thirties. She remembers performing in Roberts Hall and conveyed to me her excitement of seeing a dance on the RIC stage. She remarked on the uniqueness of each performance and how the world of dance has progressed since she was a part of it.

As light filled the theater and the performers clasped hands to bow, applause sounded in the hall. It was RIC’s honor to work alongside the KAIROS Dance Theater and collaborate with both Jones and Pellecchia. The performance provided guests a glimpse into the creative minds of those working in a physical discipline and the narrative capabilities that dance possesses.


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