Eisenhower Dance Detroit puts on beautiful performance

Kaley Barnhill, Staff Reporter

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Eisenhower Dance Detroit (EDD) put on their annual season opener performance on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.

Director Stephanie Pizzo has helped lead the company for the past 28 seasons and is now assuming the artistic role.

“EDD is a national and international touring ‘repertory’ (meaning EDD performs works from other choreographers as well as myself) dance company,” Pizzo said. “We have performed in theatres as small as a 200 seat theatre in Hart, Mich. to large opera houses as far as Tel Aviv, Israel. We have toured to NYC, LA, Chicago, Russia, Poland and Israel, to name a few.”

The show ran both on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. It featured a pre-show as well, which showcased local Rochester student dance companies.

“[It] wasn’t until I went to a family friends’ recital that triggered my want to get into dance,” said Andrew Cribbett, a company dancer. “I had been dancing up and down the aisles of the auditorium during the show and was spotted by the academy director one day, sitting in a full split waiting for my sister to finish. She then approached my grandma and said I needed to be in ballet. I have now been dancing for almost 21 years.”

One of the standout performances of the show was “The Wilding.” It was choreographed by Laurie Eisenhower, the founder of EDD.  

The show featured interesting costumes with orange satin pants and a more synchronized style of dancing, emphasizing the theme of followers, or a cult, as Pizzo discussed in her pre-show artist talk.

The dance was structured to be incredibly emotional, and had more of a narrative structure than some previous songs. While still abstract, it told a story of people becoming followers and seemed to depict one member’s attempt to break free, as well as his consequent death.

The performance ended with the debut of “Somedays,” a choreographed by Pizzo, which was designed more classic and romantic. The costumes detailed the women in purple and red velvet dresses, and the men in bow ties and button downs. In her artist talk, Pizzo explained that she took inspiration from the feeling of Sunday mornings, which was present in the very fluid and relaxed movements of the dancers.

“I can really relate to Stephanie’s new piece ‘Somedays’ as it’s about the connections between the dancers onstage and has an easy going flow to it which makes it enjoyable to dance,” said Molly McMullen, company dancer and assistant director. “I also love to premiere a dance and hear the audience’s reactions to it for the first time. One of my favorites things as a dancer is listening to the different ways I made someone feel through my dancing.”

As a choreographer, Pizzo explained that she finds inspiration all around her.

“I’m always inspired when I collaborate [with] other artists,” Pizzo said. “I think this is my favorite way to work. I feel strongly as an artist that it is important to take a stand and express what is important to you. I am driven from personal experience. All of my work supports the message of social acceptance and inclusion. I am inspired to continue to find ways express that as humans we are all equal and through love and acceptance we [can] co-exist.”