“We Walk in Moonlight,” the recent collaboration between Full Circle Dance Company (FCDC) and Ballet Theatre of Maryland (BTM) the Gordon Center, was a harmonious dance experience that left the audience standing and cheering. This collaboration was a unique endeavor that fused the classical elegance of ballet with the contemporary creativity of modern dance. The choreographers and dancers from both companies deserve praise for their daring exploration of this fusion. The result was a tapestry of movement, creating moments of sheer magic.
…harmonious dance experience that left the audience standing and cheering…a tapestry of movement, creating moments of sheer magic…It was a night of enchanting dance that left us longing for more.
This was not the first time Full Circle director Donna Jacobs has challenged her dancers. In the past decade or two, she met with doctors and leaders in the community to look closely at cancer. Then she put her ideas to the dancers and together they created powerful works that touched many, some in treatment. This company, based in Baltimore, invited their neighbors to join the dancers in socially-motivated performances, both joyful in the movement and sad in the themes.
As a bonus to her troupe’s annual fall concerts, Jacobs has invited choreographer Travis D. Gatling to set a dance for her company. I have memories of watching the Ohio artist study the dancers closely, noting which one has a better feel for tortured movements or who was most comfortable with heavy themes like mental health issues and gun control. Hope B. Byers stood out in all of these dances with her long arms crushing the floor and her gorgeous legs slicing the air above.
In his latest works for Full Circle, Travis took a lighter turn and made us smile. Once again, Byers was front and center, still displaying her amazing line, both balletic and modern—just what the directors were anticipating in the program, “We Walk in Moonlight.”
The choreography was a standout feature, demonstrating the versatility of both companies. The classical grace and poise of BTM’s ballet dancers seamlessly intertwined with the dynamic and expressive movements of Full Circle’s modern dancers. The juxtaposition was thoughtfully executed and served to highlight the dancers’ technical prowess and emotional depth. The transitions between dance styles felt organic and showcased the dancers’ adaptability.
The choice of music was fascinating. “We Walk in Moonlight” delivered on the promise of a dreamy, ethereal experience. The eclectic mix of classical compositions and electronic beats added depth to the performance. It was evident that a great deal of thought went into selecting music that enhanced the mood and atmosphere.
The lighting design subtly accentuated the moods of different pieces, and the minimalistic set design allowed the focus to remain on the dancers.
BTM’s artistic director, Nicole Kelsch, too, chose dancers who could mix it up in a flash. I was especially impressed with Michael West, Jr., who soared in “Flow and Ebb,” created by principal dancer Cindy Case. His own creation, “Ultraviolet,” turned to the stars in the sky for inspiration. In the world premiere of “En.tranced,” by Gatling, West shook and shimmied as if supernatural spirits took over his body. I loved the silk pajama costumes that shined to the pulsating drum score that we could feel in our chests.
“We Walk in Moonlight” was a remarkable collaboration that successfully bridged the worlds of classical ballet and modern dance. This performance was a testament to the artistic vision, dedication, and technical strength of both the Full Circle Dance Company and Ballet Theatre of Maryland. It was a night of enchanting dance that left us longing for more.
Running Time:Two hours with a 15-minute intermission.
“We Walk in Moonlight” was performed on October 28, 2023 by Full Circle Dance Company and Ballet Theatre of Maryland for a one-night-only concert at The Gordon Center, 3506 Gwynnbrook Avenue, Owings Mills, MD 21117. For future shows and information about Ballet Theatre of Maryland, visit here. For future shows and information about Full Circle Dance Company, go online. For future events at The Gordon Center, go online.