TriptheDark Dance Company reflects on pandemic losses, gains
TriptheDark Dance Company is returning to the live stage at Milwaukie's Chapel Theatre on April 22 with an event that has an unusual theme — death. During "Mausoleum: A Dance & Drink Pairing Event," a sommelier and brewer will present the audience with four drinks specifically chosen to pair with each set of dances.
Corinn deTorres, Chapel Theatre director, said the group started out wanting to do an audience-interactive murder mystery, but when that did not work out, they pivoted to the pairing event.
"It will be such a cool way to engage multiple senses during a performance, and a great way to include audience participation in this show," deTorres said.
"Mausoleum" also reflects the realities of the past two years, in that "the choreographers focused on the elements of life that were lost due to the pandemic, including death of variety, death of stability, death of inhibition and more," she said.
Everyone experienced difficulties during the quarantine and COVID living, and "some of those things may be lingering now, but many of us had to adapt to new ways of life and realized that some of the things that were ingrained in our lives before weren't actually all that necessary for happiness," deTorres said.
The show addresses "the elements of life that we missed, or still miss, as a result of living through a pandemic, plus the things that we were OK with letting go," she added.
Dance as storytelling
DeTorres knows from her own personal experience that dance can be an excellent medium for storytelling.
"My body feels so connected to music that immediately if there is music playing, I am already on the road to having some sort of emotional response," she said.
That response "is key because it allows the viewer or listener an opportunity to feel empathy, pain, joy, grief, through the words or concepts portrayed."
Additionally, deTorres noted that dance can be subjective, which adds another element to storytelling, "where the viewer or listener can take away from the story what they need at the time, or what stands out to them."
The four female dancers will perform to music ranging from '90s grunge to modern rhythm and blues; the main style of dance will be contemporary, combined with tap and traces of hip-hop.
Annex, upcoming events
In fall 2021, Chapel Theatre owners acquired the preschool building next door, which allowed the company to expand. The restoration work on the space consisted mostly of scrubbing, scraping and painting, deTorres said, adding that they have plans to fix up the fenced-in courtyard so it's easier to use for outdoor events.
She added that "the Annex allows us to offer space for youth and adults to engage in arts classes and for companies to use the space to rehearse on an ongoing basis, including two flamenco dance classes taught by Elena Villa, Bridge City Improv rehearsing every week and a local martial arts instructor teaching his students."
Soon the space will host youth acting classes two days a week, three weeks of summer camps and three art studios for artists to rent. In the fall, Chapel Theatre will offer after-school theater programming for youth.
"We really want Chapel Theatre to be an arts hub in Milwaukie, so anything that engages the community, draws people to Milwaukie from surrounding areas and furthers the mission of providing art, we are really open to what comes up," deTorres said.
She added, "As we are coming out of a very challenging couple of years, we want to thank everyone who continued to support Chapel Theatre and TriptheDark through COVID. We recognize that many spaces and companies closed down, and now is still a critical time to support local arts."
'Mausoleum: A Drink & Dance Pairing Event"
Where: Chapel Theatre, 4107 S.E. Harrison St., Milwaukie
Hours: 7 p.m. April 22, 23, 29 and 30; a family Sunday matinee will be held at 2 p.m. April 24, with just dancing, no drinks
Tickets: $25 for show and drinks (beer, wine or non-alcoholic); $15 for the matinee, and for children 12 and under
Buy tickets: tripthedark-dance-co.ticketleap.com/mausoleum
Visit: chapeltheatremilwaukie.com to learn about upcoming comedy shows and a storytelling event and to sign up for children's summer camps,
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