Ad Deum Dance Company Director Randall Flinn says Moving Violations Pardoned is more than just an interesting title for the group's latest program. It was the group's mantra while creating the works showcased in the program. Flinn says the directions given to dancers are sometimes like driving instructions. "It's almost like 'stay in your lane, keep your eye on the next driver.' So the title refers to those types of instructions. We wanted to ask, 'What can happen if the environment is a free environment, where you're not worried about getting a speeding ticket or about driving out of your lane?' We're not talking about creating chaos, but we're talking about giving liberties within creative [structure]. We discussed that a lot."
Dancer/choreographer Durell Ron Comedy, a member of the Jose Limón company, was given free rein when he was asked to create a new work for Ad Deum. "I told him, 'please Durrell, take your liberties here.' As brilliant as he is, he was very nervous. He said, 'I can't promise you what's going to turn out here.' I said, 'I have complete confidence in you.' [The result is] really quite amazing.
The work Comedy created is Joyful Noise, one of several pieces being presented during Moving Violations Pardoned. "He uses a lot of what I would call technical stylization from Limón vocabulary but he really has a beautiful language all of his own The piece is quite intricate. It's a breathtaking picturesque work. The architecture of the work shows how really brilliant he is as a choreographer."
Flinn heard about the young Comedy, who has been in the Limón company for about six years, from a mutual friend. Flinn reached out, sending Comedy an e-mail message. "When we finally got on the phone together, I started, 'Hi, I'm Randall Flinn and ...'" Flinn tells us. "He jumped in, saying, 'Don't pretend you don't know me! I've been coming to your [intensive workshops] ever since I was a little boy!'" laughs Flinn.
"We wanted to call on the dancers' creativity and draw on their willingness to take risks, to bring more to the performance than the directive that they were given. Dancers are always afraid of making the wrong choice, what if that's not what the choreographer wanted? We said, 'All moving violations are pardoned!' There is no consequences for trying something new. If it works, if it doesn't work, let's try it."
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See Moving Violations Pardoned at 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. The Barn, 2201 Preston. For information, call 713-626-5050 or visit the company's website. $20.