Thirty years after Kelly Roth & Dancers’ New York debut, the company will present a retrospective of dances and multimedia projects created by its choreographer and director, Kelly Roth.
The Onyx Theatre’s intimate performance space offers a different perspective on dance works usually seen in larger theaters. More exposed due to the viewers’ proximity, dancers have an opportunity to personally connect with audience members.
The varied program focuses primarily on Roth’s extensive career experience as a partner, ranging from the lyrical and abstract “Mozart Duet”—an homage to Roth’s mentor Murray Louis—to “Songs My Mother Taught Me,” a nostalgic and wistful tribute to his parents set to popular music from the 1950s.
Two special guest artists will join the company. Neo-burlesque comedienne Emily Lauren, an Onyx audience favorite, appears in “Mein Kampf,” a quirky black comedy featuring Hitler and a Chaplin-esque foil. And the prize-winning “Sentience” will reunite Roth with his former partner, Middle Eastern dance scholar and performer Angela Palmeri-Davis.
These duets are made-to-order for the cozy Onyx stage. More challenging for the company in this space: a reprise of the group work “Hernaeus and Taphea, Part 3,” billed as the “World’s First Wet T-Shirt Contest.” Local choreographer and dancer Marko Westwood is the featured satyr, whose hot pursuit of the local Greek maidens takes an unexpected comic turn. Feel free to laugh out loud during that one.