“This will be the first time we’ve had live audience members since February of 2020,” says Jane Franklin. “Our last in-person audience was at the Intersections Festival [at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.”
The occasion is the season kick off for the Jane Franklin Dance company, on Friday, Aug. 27, at The Athenaeum in Alexandria, which is presenting a hybrid show for audiences both in-person and online. For her part, Franklin couldn’t be more thrilled to get her dancers back in front of live people. “We’re all looking forward to it,” she says.
The evening will feature three performances by Franklin’s esteemed local company, which was founded in 1997. In “Family Photos,” Franklin’s dancers are paired with a series of projected images from their own childhoods. “Each person will perform alongside slides of themselves at different ages,” she says. “So it’s really a neat interplay of projection versus real person.”
The piece, set to music by Steven Rogers, denotes “the passage of time and the persistence of change,” and will begin in the Athenaeum’s smaller gallery before moving, along with audience in tow, to the larger, main gallery.
“Forty+” offers up a new dance created by company member Roxann Morgan Rowley, to be performed by dancers over the age of 40. The evening concludes with the premiere of Philip Baraoidan’s “Tales of Moria,” commissioned specifically for the company. “He’s been working on the piece for the last month or so,” says Franklin. “It’s stationed around cabaret tables and the in-person audience will be part of the backdrop.”
It was important to Franklin to keep her dance company running throughout the pandemic, rather than place it on hiatus. The company produced videos of its works and held online classes, allowing Franklin to adapt to and learn a new state of being.
“It was important to keep creativity going, to keep the dancers involved with each other,” she says. “The connection we all make and the time we spend working together is so valuable, interesting, and special. So it was really important to me to make it work. We tried a lot of different ways of presenting the work and developing the work. Those creative times together gave us high points to look forward to during the pandemic.”
Jane Franklin Dance’s kickoff is Friday, Aug. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Athenaeum, 201 Prince St. in Alexandria, Va. A limited amount of in-person tickets are available. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the show is required. Tickets are $20. The simultaneous livestream carries a suggested donation of $10 and goes to support both Jane Franklin Dance and the Athenaeum. Visit www.janefranklin.com.
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