The Awesome Mitten - Trip the Light

Day 333: Trip the Light

No matter the form, art is a joint effort. The theatre needs actors and stagehands; music, songwriters and singers; dance, choreographers and performers. No event better exemplifies this idea than Trip the Light.

“Dance is inherently collaborative,” says Amy Wilson, Artistic Director of Dance in the Annex.

The Awesome Mitten - Trip the Light
Photo courtesy of DITA

Trip the Light will bring modern dance to Grand Rapids, for the third year in a row, on Saturday, May 12 at The Wealthy Theatre. This annual performance is the culmination of efforts made by dancers and choreographers from Dance in the Annex, as well as the support of ArtPeers, Community Media Center, and the sponsorship of a dozen other local businesses. This year’s Trip the Light will feature 11 on-stage performances and two On Camera pieces. Each of the participating artists will receive a portion of the proceeds.

DITA is a dance collective, co-founded by Wilson, back in 2008. DITA aims to bring awareness to the art of contemporary dance in West Michigan, by offering affordable Masters Classes to dancers of all technique levels—anyone willing to accept a challenge and take risks.

“It is really something you don’t even see in ‘bigger’ dance markets, like NYC or LA where there are classes like DITA classes on every corner,” says Wilson.

Trip the Light brings the big-city dance experience to Grand Rapids. For one evening, dancers collaborate not only with each other but with local musicians. Bands such as Ribbons of Song, AOK, and Astro Bats will provide live accompaniment to the choreography.

Wilson encourages all the dancers to think of this performance as a holistic experience—not solely about the steps and the staging, but also about place.

“[This year], there is more of a collaborative intertwining of the how the dance is shaped by the music. And also, the beauty of the Wealthy Theatre itself,” says Wilson. Thinking of the stage and using it more as a place for site-specific work, rather than throwing a piece up on an empty stage.”

The Awesome Mitten - Trip the Light
Photo courtesy of DITA

Marlee Grace Cook-Parrott, a Trip the Light choreographer, shares Wilson’s sentiment. Her piece, “Olive Back Thrush,” will utilize Cook-Parrott’s personal items–like lamps–and a collection of quilts to add more texture to the performance. She and her dancers will question the idea of home, a concept which evolved from a conversation between Cook-Parrott and her partner.

“We were talking about co-habitating,” she says. “Why we’re here in Michigan, and why we choose to stay in Grand Rapids.”

Cook-Parrott joined DITA in 2010, after studying dance at University of Michigan. The adaptability of the art being created is what drew her in—DITA is known to participate at atypical events, like ArtPrize, SiTE: LAB, and Art Downtown.

“We want to be in unconventional places,” she says. “We’re not glued to the theatre.”

Besides attending Trip the Light, Cook-Parrott  urges dancers to attend the Masters Classes, if involvement in the Grand Rapids dance scene is desired.

“Modern dance hasn’t happened here yet. That allows us to try—and fail—if we want to.”

Tickets to Trip the Light are $15.00 at the door, $12.50 for non-CMC members (presale), and $10.00 for CMC members. Doors open at 7pm; curtain at 8pm.

For more information about DITA’s Master Classes, visit the website, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

Meghan McAfee, Managing Content Editor


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