Lifestyle

Extravaganza of dance and music at WICA

Marta Mullholland translates the choreography of Bob Fosse to the line of dancers who include Jennifer Bondelid, Susan Vanderwood, Suzanne Kelman and Amy Berto.  - David Welton/ The Record
Marta Mullholland translates the choreography of Bob Fosse to the line of dancers who include Jennifer Bondelid, Susan Vanderwood, Suzanne Kelman and Amy Berto.
— image credit: David Welton/ The Record

Motion in itself is compelling.

But add some fire to it and it becomes a locomotive burst of energy.

Choreographers and performers Marta Mulholland and Suzanne Kelman have joined forces to fuel the fire of a unique evening of dance and music.

“Island of Motion — Island of Fire” runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 23 and 24 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

The show features a variety of musical dance pieces performed by a dynamic cast of island artists.

The show includes silk dancing, spinning, tap, aerial dancing, musical theater and old-time “British Music Hall” theater.

The dancers are supported by an ensemble of musicians who sing and play the piano, drums, guitar and, on Friday evening only, fill the house with the sounds of marimba.

“Island of Fire — Island of Motion” is a Local Artist Series collaboration stoked by the vision of Kelman and Mulholland under the musical direction of Robert Marsanyi.

Both Kelman and Mulholland are experienced performers and choreographers whose impetus for the show came out of an unwavering desire to challenge themselves as dancers while also creating an ensemble of island artists to execute the ideas that had been brewing.

“For some time now, I have had an idea for this type of show,” Mulholland said. “I just love the process of getting people together to form these pieces from our ideas. The collaboration is the most exciting thing.”

“It’s the kind of show that we want the audience to experience on every level; to feel every emotion,” Kelman added.

To that end, the team has designed a program that incorporates many different styles of dance and music.

Among them, they’ve created three homages to the work of the great American choreographer Bob Fosse. The tribute includes “Steam Heat,” “Hey Big Spender” and a piece set to the live accompaniment of a singer on stage belting out “Bye Bye Blackbird.”

In addition to a trip to Broadway, the cast will take the audience through a balletic storm with a body suspended, stomp out some exuberant rhythms using the best junk available from Island Recycling and relive the birth of technology with a piece that uses every sound from Morse code to the sounds of the brave new world of technology. There will be other surprises, too.

“We hope that this show will be a unique experience from the minute you walk in the door,” Kelman said.

In the lobby will be a showcase of live motion and art that intends to get the audience’s juices flowing before they even walk into the theater.

“Our goal is for the audience to leave the theater thoroughly entertained and proud to live in a community that offers so much diverse opportunity in the arts for us to enjoy,” Kelman said.

Mulholland and Kelman have worked together several times before, choreographing shows for Whidbey Children’s Theatre, including the 2007 show “Godspell,” which won two National Youth Theatre Awards.

Earlier this year Mulholland and Kelman decided to form a new partnership with a business called The Danceweavers.

The company specializes in producing “dance with a difference” and hopes to offer workshops and retreats to anyone interested in using movement to expand their horizons.

“We’d like to bridge the gap between trained dancers and people who just really want to dance. We’d like to get the corporate executives dancing,” Kelman said.

As for “Island of Motion — Island of Fire,” the producers are fired up and enthusiastic about the show and look forward to a bit of audience participation, especially where the Brit Kelman brings out her familiar love of old-time British music hall dances.

“We think there’s something for everyone in this show,” Kelman said.

The production team includes stage manager Dana Linn, lighting by Annie Deacon, the costumes of Valerie Johnson and sound design by Robbie Cribbs.

Dancers and musicians include Amy Berto, Jennifer Bondelid, Karen Epifano, Susan O’Brien, Eric Mulholland, Deana Duncan, Sandy O’Brien, Athena Michaelides, Dinah Hassrick, Walter Dill, Emily Dunn-Wilder, Joni Takanikos, Robert Marsanyi, Ian Marsanyi, Barbara Dunn, Joseph Sanchez, Kathy Deane, Tina Blade, Marc Hoffman and Dana Moffett and her marimba band.

Tickets are $12; call the WICA Box Office at 221-8268 or 800- 638-7631 or visit www.WICAonline.com.

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