When Starr Foster and her troupe of contemporary dancers first undertook the "LEVITATE" project in 2014, they did it in the former Sea Dream Leather building. “They were in the middle of renovations,” she recalls, “and it was probably the craziest thing we’ve ever done.”
The choreographer and dance impresario, a 2006 recipient of the Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts, is revisiting the 45-minute, five-part performance at The Basement of TheatreLAB, Saturday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 15, at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Dancers Erick Hooten and Jordan Livermon Glunt embrace mid-jump in "LEVITATE." (Photo by Doug Hayes)
One reason the under-construction Sea Dream Leather setting proved ideal, as is the case with The Basement, involves how the dances use feathers, corn starch and ribbons — elements not conducive for use in every venue.
“It gets messy,” Foster says with a big laugh. Which is why there are two separate casts that will rotate shows; the stuff gets on costumes that then need cleaning, “which is why we can’t do the shows back to back," Foster explains. "And, it’s 45 minutes.”
Dancers of Starr Foster Dance Project reach toward the heavens. Pictured left to right: Brittany Diaz Judge, Ryan Davis, Caitlin Cunningham, Angela Palmisano, Kate Neal (Photo by Doug Hayes)
The concept for "LEVITATE" came from a book by science humorist Mary Roach titled “Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife.” “She traveled all over the world and investigated all these kooky stories about what people believe happens after you die,” Foster says. "LEVITATE" is designed for an intimate space and small audiences.
At The Basement, the performance area will allow viewers to sit on either side of the action. Composer Joey Luck created the show's original music.
“It’s in the top three of dances I’ve ever created,” Foster says. “It’s fun to re-set and re-choreograph the piece in this space.”
Witness the fun, feathers and all, at The Basement at TheatreLAB, 300 E. Broad St. Admission is $15 through advance purchase here.
Starr Foster Dance Project's Kate Neal captivates with her flight on stage in "LEVITATE." (Photo by Doug Hayes)