I don’t feel like I know enough about tap to really write a review of Dorrance Dance’s The Blues Project, but I loved the show enough that I want to write something about it. It was so much fun, definitely one of my favorite dance performances of the year.
I loved pretty much all of the dancers. Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards danced to By and By; that started off slow and in the corner (with the music not clearly that song), and then she started moving more, everything sped up, and it was really powerful. In Derick Grant’s solo, he started with the spotlight on him in center, not showing off much. But then the spotlight went away and gave him whole floor, and he just took over. He was so good at looking at the audience and making it so personal. It was explosive and intimate and fun. And there was Michelle Dorrance’s solo; she’s such a good dancer, and there were a couple of sweeps down to the floor here (on the word “fall” in the lyrics) that worked really well. I also loved watching Karida Griffith, Claudia Rahardjanoto emoted so much, and Byron Tittle was super tricksy and impressive.
There was a lot of variety throughout the show. There was one section where the violinist, Juliette Jones, came down from the platform at the back of the stage and played among the dancers. One of the dancers played a washboard. There was a section in converse-like shoes and another section where two of the six “corps” dancers were barefoot, which I loved. At the beginning, they walked on in groups of three, and then all joined together in the back corner with the light looking like they were marching or dancing into the sun. Near the end, a group of six of the dancers playfully “fought” with each other and each did a solo.
Through all the different pieces, the dancers really interacted with each other, the musicians, and the audience. It felt like a conversation, always intimate and fun. I’d go see The Blues Project (and any other Dorrance Dance show) again in a heartbeat.