Art Hounds: It’s all about the dance

A dancer performs near a body of water.
Gemma Isaacson of Jagged Moves Dance Project performs in "TOUCH CODE: (Re) Claiming Space."
Photo by Jennifer Glaws

Dancer Molly Kay Stoltz of St. Peter has been looking forward to the winter show by Rhythmically Speaking at Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

The dance group takes cues from jazz and American social dance, such as ballroom and line dancing. Stoltz appreciates how the group improvises and interacts with live musicians and the audience.

Thursday’s show is called “Riffin’: A Jazz-Danced Celebration of Human Interaction.” Hutchinson-based guitarist/composer Mike Lauer leads a live jazz combo for the performance. Amsterdam will be selling a special tap beer, a collaborative creation by Lauer and Hutchinson’s Bobbing Bobber Brewery.

Theater performer Shea Roberts Gyllen loves the work of Threads Dance Project, celebrating its 10th anniversary with in-person and virtual options at the Cowles Center in Minneapolis this weekend. Threads is a Black woman-owned company whose show “Awake. Alive. Anew.” marks a rising from the devastation of the pandemic.

The performance features new modern dance works by emerging choreographers Gabby Abram, Jennifer Pray and Elayna Waxse, as well as the premiere of the dance film “Out of the Ashes.” The dance film is about the events of 9/11, and Roberts Gyllen was struck by how the dance captures “that moment of transition from a normal day to the worst day … the things I have seen Threads produce have always gotten right behind my breast bone and made me feel.”

The show is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with both in-person and livestream options available. The Cowles Center requires masks and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from within 72 hours.

Minneapolis theater maker Candy Simmons has followed the dance company Jagged Moves Dance Project since its formation in 2016. She saw the only performance of their show “Touch Code” in March 2020 before theaters went dark, and she’s looking forward to having that same show be her first in-person experience back. The themes of touch, boundaries and personal space may take on extra weight after our experiences with social distancing.

“Choreographer Jennifer Glaws' work is always exciting and adventurous,” said Simmons. “And she supports her dancers with innovative lighting, set and sound design. The piece also features Julie Johnson, a local flutist whose work is also always exciting and outside the bounds of what you expect out of her instrument.”

“TOUCH CODE: (Re) Claiming Space” runs Thursday through Sunday at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, with some livestream options. On-demand performances are available Nov. 6 to Nov. 14.

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