Monarch Dance Company | Amanda Urbanski (April 2015)

Monarch Dance Company
15th Anniversary Performance
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Samuels Theater

by Amanda Urbanski

Déjà Vu Monarch Dance? What an emotional event it must have been for the Monarch Dance Company members to take the stage on the exact anniversary of their first performance 15 years ago!  Working within the realm of Afro-Contemporary technique, The Monarch Dance Company began its journey in the year 2000.  This group of eclectic artists, some being students, teachers, and scholars, fuse forces to exhibit socially conscious pieces inspired by the world around them. Entering their 12th season, under the artistic direction of Tabatha Robinson-Scott, The Monarch Dance Company strives to present diversity in movement, in life, and in artistry.

Within the first act, audience members had the privilege of experiencing Tabatha Robinson-Scott perform her solo work, Scarred.  What an empowering message to witness. The vulnerability in Tabatha’s movement was matched by the raw-like quality within the words she spoke: “My two feet stand upon a foundation stronger than myself”. The gestural, contemporary based movement was simple yet effective.  Tabatha’s gaze shifted between internal and external moments, inviting audience members to accompany her on this emotional endeavor.  Virtually, the elements of dance, word, and connection left a remarkably lasting impression.

Tabatha’s solo was followed by a company piece entitled, The Ides.  Aside from the fact that this was the title of the performance, this piece also stood out due to its soft and balletic quality.  The light-heartedness of the piece was complimented by long, white skirts and matching tops.  Repetition and the ripple effect were the featured elements during this number.  Refreshingly, company members danced with a sense of nostalgia, which was a nice contrast to the other more intense and grave pieces.  

Another striking portion of Saturday night’s show came from guest artists, The Mazzini Dance Collective.  Hailing from New York City, The Mazzini Dance Collective was founded by longtime Paul Taylor Dance Company member, Annamaria Mazzini.  MDC is a modern dance group that seeks to promote a community that awakens both spirit and soul.  The company performed three different pieces within the show, including a solo performance by Annamaria herself.  Mazzini Dance used both thematic phrase work and engaging music.  One refreshing element to the work was that it encompassed obscure or mysterious meanings that skimmed the surface just enough to leave me involved but never confused.  Founded in 2011, the MDC is wasting no time establishing themselves as a notable dance group.  

Generally speaking, the Monarch Dance Company’s program was well received.  Each piece incorporated new lights, sound, and at times, a new prop.  However, I observed a similar movement vocabulary that was strung through each piece.  This aspect of the performance led me to reflect on the show’s title, The Ides.  One hypothesis for this powerful heading could be to inform viewers about the company’s ability to produce 15 years of stylized dance, which is a historic feat in itself!  Congratulations to The Monarch Dance Company on the centenary show!