Dance duo Non Edwards and Missa Kes bared their souls and their bodies at Bryant-Lake Bowl last weekend, presenting a showcase of what they can do as dancers and choreographers. Anchored by a work they choreographed together about their dreams and ambitions as dance artists, “Super-Mad-Body-Jack” mined some gems amid a bit of a hodgepodge of a show.
In all, the evening included two solos, a dance film and two duets, one of which they choreographed together. As choreographers, both Edwards and Kes favored an abstract style with theatrical flair.
“Caged Animals,” which Edwards choreographed, featured Kes in a piece that resembled a mash-up of film noir and strip tease, with Kes capably bringing a rich inner life to her enigmatic character.
Kes’ film, “Verge,” was similarly narrative, with the two dancers — one in a virginal white tunic and the other in seductive black — playing against each other to the death.
The best and worst moments of the evening came in the collaborative work, “This Is Who I Am, This Is What I Do, This Is What I Want,” which focused on the angst-laden longings and anxieties regarding their careers. The piece was packed with tons of different ideas, with the dancers jumping from vaudevillian showmanship to meta-theatrical irony.
The worst moment came when the two performers piled a bunch of costume pieces and clothing in the center of the room. They crawled under the clothes and began screaming as if having a nightmare. The lights eventually turned off and the screaming continued for what seemed like an endless amount of time.
What followed was an amusing bit of screwball comedy that pulled the work together. The dancers revealed that they had been dreaming about performing at the Bryant-Lake Bowl naked — and then stood up nude. They frantically tried to cover up with puffy winter coats as they ran around and threw the clothes down the stairs and out the back door of the stage, which opens onto Lake Street. With their backs toward the street, they began to get dressed, as passersby walked behind them on the sidewalk.
The nakedness provided a metaphor for the evening. As emerging artists presenting work to the community, the show inherently put them in a vulnerable state, which the nudity capped off with panache.
Sheila Regan is a Minneapolis writer.