MARSHALL COUNTY — The performance ‘Layers’ by “Alignance in Motion” is an original creation of dance, poetry and music. The story of how the human experience seems to cycle with the seasons year after year is told using a variety of artistic layers including dance, piano, harp, song, sign language, and narration.
The setting begins in late winter and proceeds through spring, summer, fall and concludes with winter. Transitions in life are illustrated in stages by choreography written by professional dance instructor Marcia Heintzberger and dance student Maija Cole.
The ballerinas mirror one another; the newness of dance for Cole as she gains experience reflects and contrasts the wisdom of Heintzberger’s expertise which spans her life time.
The doubt that someone faces when they are learning something new, mirrored by the internal questions which arise, ‘How much longer will I be able to do this?’ Questions that are not limited to dancers; but are relevant to people of all walks of life and trades.
Heintzberger said, “The whole production was inspired by a poem that Maija wrote, ‘The Dancers Prayer’.” Just as humans adapt through the seasons of life, a team of five women under the direction of Heintzberger worked collaboratively to bring the production to life. Cole also wrote ‘Ode to the Instruments’.
Cole was sitting downstairs in the dance room at Indiana University South Bend where she is currently studying nursing. Cole was inspired in the still of the quiet and began writing the poem, ‘Dancers Prayer’. Heintzberger loved the piece, and they moved forward adapting it to the production.
Adaptations to traditional music by harpist Cynthia Boener include ‘Still, Still, Still’, ‘Southwind’, ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’, ‘Bamboo Flute’, ‘Kelvingrove (original lyrics by Boener), ‘Si Bheag Si Mhor’, ‘Greensleeves’, and ‘Holly and the Ivy’. Boener, who also performs an original caldron improvisation for the fall layer, said of the production, “It is an expression of how life layers.”
Michele Schricker provides accompaniment on the piano, later revealed as an unassuming ode to winter. Schricker also interprets some of the poetry through sign language. Heintzberger said, “Michele does sign language so beautifully that when she does it, it looks like her hands are dancing. It has a sacred, prayer look.”
Pam Gunterman narrates the production both by recitation and in song with her high soprano operatic voice.
Her original poetry includes ‘Seasons of the Heart’, ‘Snowflake’, ‘Fresh Air’, ‘Summer Heat’, and ‘Autumn’.
‘Who’s Flirting with my Mind’ was written by Heintzberger, who also wrote the choreography.
Heintzberger said, “I am inspired by fall. That is what inspired me. Fall mesmerizes me. The leaves falling, and all of the color is so rich.”
Boener, “It was incredible each time when we got together, the way we each saw things, and how it all came together. Everyone has contributed at least one great idea, if not more. That has just amazed me, the collaborative spirit and effort.”
Heintzberger agreed, “We have the piano player, the harpist, the vocalist, and the dancers. It all came together. It all meshes. It isn’t separate entities.” Boener added, “Everything flows together.”
Gunterman said, “The title is prophetic. The work that we all brought to this created the layers that then became the title. The title was there before, but it all just came full circle.”
Heintzberger said, “As we have been rehearsing, some of it we have performed as improv. Everything has fallen into place, how we react to one another.”
Boener said, “Even though we have rehearsed for quite some time, each time we come together it feels new. I see some of these expressions and it is just delightful.”
Cole was particularly excited about her homage to the month of November. “November is often overlooked, but November gives us a unique opportunity to gently transition to sometimes lonely winter.”
Jim Yocom, producer at Wild Rose Moon, said, “It can be hard to convey the expression of dance to non-dancers, even though there are lots of other layers.”
Cole replied, “That is why I am so involved in this ballet. It was inspired by my poem, ‘Dancers Prayer’. It was kind of an in-between the lines charade of giving readers a perspective, a different concept of how to look at dance. It involves tradition, religion, and imagery to describe movement as an emotion and that is why I have put myself here. I like to dance. But, I liked it for two years. Now I want to make an impact in the community to show dance as an emotion, not just standing on your toes.”
Cole continued, “What we are doing here is not romanticized. This is very pedestrian. It has its own beauty and sereneness; which is completely different from what the idealized or idolized version of dance is. This is more welcoming type of dance. I think that is really important to convey that to make it more accessible and relatable to those who may not otherwise embrace it.”
Cole illustrated, “Ballets are stories, but with this one we didn’t write a specific plot dialogue. It became its own narrative and the characters developed on their own.” Cole said. “The characters ask these questions in gestures throughout the story. ‘What are we doing in this big plot called life? How are we layering it all together?”
Heintzberger said that the production is family friendly. “I hope we get children to come. The performance is very relatable to everyone. It doesn’t contain complex conflicts, it highlights our favorite parts of each season. It isn’t dramatic, it is very relatable.”
Tickets are available in Bremen at ‘The Mean Bean’, in Plymouth at ‘ASK for Flowers’ and the Chamber of Commerce, and online at www.wildrosemoon.com and eventbrite.com. Tickets are $15 each for general admission, and $10 for students kindergarten through 12th grade.
Three performances will be held at the Wild Rose Moon in downtown Plymouth. Friday, October 18 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, October 19 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Performance time is 1 hour 15 minutes, with a 15 minute intermission making the event 1 hour and 30 minutes in length from start to finish.
The Wild Rose Moon is located at 115 N. Michigan St., Plymouth.