Local Arts

Moving Poets’ ‘6/15’ brings back the unexpected to modern dance showcase at Chop Shop

Korean dancer-cellist Wooguru will make his Charlotte debut in Moving Poets’ shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Chop Shop in Noda.
Korean dancer-cellist Wooguru will make his Charlotte debut in Moving Poets’ shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Chop Shop in Noda. Dario-Jacopo Laganà

Moving Poets will restore a piece of its identity this week when the modern-dance group presents its “6/15” showcase for the first time since before the group’s seven-year hiatus.

Sweeping viewers through six works lasting about 15 minutes each, the program used to be a Moving Poets calling card. When the collection returns Thursday, the artists in the spotlight will range from Moving Poets veterans – such as co-founder Till Schmidt-Rimpler and Winston-Salem’s Alban Elved Dance Company – to a Korean dancer-cellist making his Charlotte debut.

As always with Moving Poets, the works will combine dance with music, visual art or the spoken word. And the accent is on the new.

“The audience that traditionally comes to the ‘6/15’ event expect that they’re going to experience something different,” Schmidt-Rimpler said.

Schmidt-Rimpler, who maintains the two-city group’s other base in Berlin, Germany, has brought a dancer he discovered there two years ago: Wooguru, a dancer and musician who improvises his performances.

“He develops everything out of the moment,” Schmidt-Rimpler says. “His surroundings are quite important, because depending on where he does something, what the conditions are, who’s there, the pieces will change. It’s a personal response.”

Wooguru, a native of Korea who lives in Germany, creates his own soundscapes as he performs. When he arrived in Charlotte last week, he looked for metal plates to place around the floor at the Chop Shop, where “6/15” takes place. The plates will be wired to the sound system, and his shoes will strike them as he performs, creating sounds that punctuate his performance; at times he will pick up a cello and play.

“I just concentrate on myself and … follow a certain inner flow of mine,” Wooguru said.

Schmidt-Rimpler thinks Wooguru’s spur-of-the-moment creativity delivers a special excitement.

“You can feel automatically that this isn’t something that has been planned by somebody else. It comes from the artist directly,” Schmidt-Rimpler says.

“It’s very engaging. He gets very intense,” Schmidt-Rimpler adds. “He has a lot of soul.”

Also in store for ‘6/15’

“With Eyes to the Earth”: Led by artistic director Sarah Emery, Moving Poets Charlotte combines dance and video to explore “the inevitability of growth and decay, lightness and darkness in nature and mankind.”

“The End of the Nightingale”: Though poets have linked the nocturnal songbird with romance, actual nightingales sometimes compete to the death in song contests, says Till Schmidt-Rimpler. His new work combines dance, vocals and a soundscape installation.

“adam-mah”: Winston-Salem’s Alban Elved Dance Company looks at “the symbiosis of human and nature, our creative and destructive capacities and the development of personal identity, territoriality and war.”

“Sentient: A Dance Parable”: Choreographer Hardin Minor, founder of Omimeo Mime Theatre, shaped five dancers’ improvisations in a “creative collaboration” inspired by Robinson Jeffers’ “The Answer,” a poem about holding on to integrity and honor in an ugly world.

“Not So Random Jellyfish”: Jacqueline White and de’Angelo Dia of Open Door Studio use dance and poetry to look at the challenges of personal identity, childhood, innocence, loss and rediscovery.

This story was produced as part of the Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance.

Moving Poets Charlotte

“An Exploration of Humanity and Nature” is the theme of the annual “6/15” program.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday.

Where: The Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St.

Tickets: $30 general, $25 senior, $15 student.

Details: carolinatix.org, movingpoetscharlotte.org, 704-593-6772