Wind, intense heat, chilly temps, swarms of moths and even bee stings — GroundWorks DanceTheater performers have endured it all while dancing outdoors each summer. Despite the obstacles nature brings, it's worth the sacrifice, says executive artistic director David Shimotakahara.
"It's a very different atmosphere for the audience to be outdoors with dance, but we love doing it," he says.
Prepared for any number of elements they will face, the contemporary dance company known for pushing boundaries returns to the intimate Alma Theater at Cain Park June 12-14 for the 12th year. Here's a primer on the three works — two audience favorites and one new number by Shimotakahara — that will be performed under the stars during the summer series.
Rock Queen: Renowned theater and film choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett choreographed the emotional, lyrical Hindsight as a tribute to Akron native Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. Dancers interpret hits from "I'll Stand By You" to "Brass in Pocket" as a video showing photos of Akron and Ohio plays in the background. "It gives you a deeper understanding of [Hynde]," Shimotakahara says.
Summer Showers: The familiar tunes from Singin' in the Rain may catch your ear, but don't let that distract your eye from the intricate movements in All I Do. New York City choreographer David Parker crafted the dance using a movement convention he developed based on Morse code, which he used to spell out phrases from the songs. "It's not just a pop thing," Shimotakahara says. "There's a lot that goes into it."
Beat Keeper: Thanks to a Cuyahoga Arts and Culture grant, Shimotakahara will premiere a new work with live music. Local percussionist Luke Rinderknecht will likely play the marimba, a wooden xylophone-like instrument with different resonators beneath each bar, as dancers perform a duet. "It's a beautiful, deep, resonant, almost haunting sound," Shimotakahara says.