Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rhythm in Shoes: A Dayton Must-See

I was vaguely aware of Rhythm in Shoes over the past few years, and did see their “Hoagland” joint venture with DCDC back in 2001 (a tribute to Hoagy Carmichael, one of the more memorable performances I've seen here ).

But it wasn't till I saw an concert by them last year that I really appreciated what these folks are up to. Since I am a trad music fan and also appreciate folk culture this really was up my alley.

RiS takes things we take for granted, things like tap dancing and folk dancing and the type of dance you’d maybe see in vaudeville, and moves them up to the level of contemporary dance, as a mix of contemporary dance and folk/theatrical forms, and even some classical ballet moves. And they have a great string band to provide the music. A very rich mix of the traditional dance and contemporary choreography.

RiS also holds dance classes for the public, and does work with UD students, too. The members of the band apparently sponsor an open mike night over at the Trolley Stop over in the Oregon on Wednesdays for people doing acoustic/trad music. So this organization is not just a performance group but does outreach into the community, contributing to the fairly strong interest in trad music and folkdance (and dance in general) in the Dayton area.

Tonight I saw their Banjo Dance show, which was apparently a full-length production of things they had been working on for a few years now. I recall bits of this from the show I saw last year. I particularly liked their interpretation of aspects of religious life and spiritual music, and also their “Death By Ballad” piece. One of the things about this show is that it is a real mix: music, dance, and spoken word passages.

You can catch Banjo Dance on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, at UD's Boll Theatre

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