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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Consuming Kinetics' New Dance Concert Focuses on Growth

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 9:51 AM

click to enlarge A photo from artistic director Arica Brown's piece in the latest Consuming Kinetics concert, Take Root. - PHOTO BY DAVE MOORE PHOTOGRAPHY. EDITED BY CKDC CREATIVE DIRECTOR SAM GAITSCH.
  • Photo by Dave Moore Photography. Edited by CKDC creative director Sam Gaitsch.
  • A photo from artistic director Arica Brown's piece in the latest Consuming Kinetics concert, Take Root.

It can be so rare these days for people to agree on anything. One scroll through social media will likely confirm that notion — hello there, Election 2016. But if there are two things we can (mostly) all agree on, it's 1) life isn't easy, and 2) it has a way of turning out quite differently than what you expected.

The dancers at Consuming Kinetics Dance Company know these things. And when you leave their latest dance concert this weekend, they want you to walk away knowing that all of that is OK.

Take Root, the company's latest contemporary dance production to take the stage at Kranzberg Arts Center (501 N. Grand Blvd.,  314-533-0367), features eight pieces based on the themes of growth and progress. Company founder and artistic director Arica Brown says she hopes audience members use the theme to reflect on how much they have grown and accomplished, because being an adult is difficult.

"I’m going to be 32 this year, and I’m feeling a lot of upper twenties and young thirties are like, 'Oh I should’ve been this by now' or 'I should’ve been…,'” Brown says. "And like, where you are now is really OK, because it’s all about growing. You’re always going to be growing; you’re always going to be making progress, and it might not be your fairy tale idea of what you thought you were going to be doing when you were 32, but we hope that this work inspires every individual who comes in to celebrate their own growth and their own progress."

Brown explains that the concert's resident and guest choreographers each took a different angle on this theme, but the perspectives ultimately tie together to create one cohesive show. Brown's piece, for example, has a very specific and personal expression of growth.

"In a way, my piece sort of plays on the growth and progress of myself as an individual artist and as a founder of my company and being able to grow my company as a result of being rooted, making St. Louis my home and allowing those roots to sort of extend out and reach a broad and diverse network," she says.

Basing each dance concert on a new theme is a unique aspect of the seven-year-old company. While many dance companies reuse works for several shows, making them part of their repertoire, the themed approach means audiences are always seeing premiere work at Consuming Kinetics' shows.

Choosing a theme for each dance concert is a group effort.

"The way we come up with these names and ideas is actually very real to where we are as a company, in our lives, in our experiences, in our influences, in our inspirations, and it’s usually pretty collaborative," Brown says. "Madison DeWitt, who’s my assistant artistic director, she was the final person to come up with that word structure, 'Take Root.' And everyone was like, 'Yes, that’s it. That’s the word structure that we want.' But everyone contributed."

While Take Root is primarily a dance concert, the show also utilizes spoken word and installation. Textile artist Nicole Benner created the installation pictured above for Brown's piece, and spoken word artist Nikki Glenn will be reading a poem for one of the dances. Even a desk from Consuming Kinetics' studio is being put to use as a prop. 

“We put a lot of love and we put a lot of nurturing into every project we do, and we would love to have people come out and see us," Brown says.

You can see Take Root at the Kranzberg Arts Center Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. The Sunday performance is rated R for partial nudity. For more information, call 314-546-1477. For tickets, visit

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