If Swan Lake were a drink, it might be vodka. If Bob Fosse’s (“Pippin,” “Damn Yankees”) choreography came in liquid form, it would probably be something smooth with a bit of heat. Hot buttered rum, perhaps?
The organizers – all choreographers – of the fourth Wine and Dance have had the fun task of deciding which wine best represents the dance they’re staging. On Friday and Saturday, each of seven modern dances will be paired with a taste of wine the choreographer has selected to represent it.
Audrey Baran, one of the show’s organizers, is staging “Ballet 7,” a modern dance about the Seven Deadly Sins. One dancer will represent each sin – from gluttony to sloth to lust. (That ought to be fun!) Baran thinks a bold red is the right pairing for her number. “The bloodier, the better,” she says.
Eric Mullis’ piece (“June of ’44”) will be accompanied not just by wine (a rich, heavy one), but by live music performed by Troy Conn.
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The seven modern dances will range from the lighthearted (accompanied by a bright and sparkly Prosecco) to the dark and melancholy (offered with, say, a Malbec).
The dances are all brief – just five to 15 minutes. And in between every dance, the audience will get a small pour of the wine that’s been chosen to go with it. “You sip while you’re enjoying the dances,” Baran says. “It’s designed to get all your senses involved.”
It’s also designed to appeal to people who don’t necessarily think of themselves as modern dance aficionados. “We want to make dance accessible,” says Baran. “It can be as much fun as going out to a concert or to a bar.”
So, they’re staging these dances in a bar. And not necessarily a fancy one, either. The Chop Shop, tucked behind Cabo Fish Taco in NoDa, may seem an unlikely place for modern dance. It’s a place people ordinarily go to hear live music.
Organizers will set up some seating, but it won’t be in rows as you’d typically see at a theater. There will be cabaret tables and room for standing and walking around, Baran says. It will feel more like a bar than a theater.
Baran says that while the Chop Shop can accommodate more, they plan to cap the audience at about 200 people each night.
This is the fourth year a team of choreographers has staged Wine and Dance. Bridget Morris, director of Echo Contemporary Dance Company, started Wine and Dance in 2011. When she moved to Boston, the event went on hiatus for a year, but Baran and others picked it up the next year.
Some of the same choreographers have come back year after year. In addition to Baran, Sarah Emery (Moving Poets), Camerin Watson (an independent choreographer) and Arlynn Zachary (The MARK dance company) are returning. New to the group are Juliana Tilbury Carson (PLEXUS Dance), Eric Mullis (Triptych Creative) and Amy Tynan (Aerial CLT).
And the wine tasting isn’t an also-ran at this event. The night was always conceived as a showcase for innovative dance and interesting wines from all over the globe. If you like the taste, you can get a full glass or even a bottle. (A taste is included in the price.)
Some of the dancers will not just appear to take flight – they will literally be suspended from the ceiling.
What wine goes best with an aerial dance? Come to the Chop Shop and find out.