PREVIEW: “The Kind of Thing That Would Happen” by Agora Dance at Dance Place

From the DC Dance Journalism Project

The Kind of Thing That Would Happen: Our Perceptions of Theatre, Tragedy, and Performance

PREVIEW of Agora Dance at Dance Place
by Rachael Appold

It is often said that life imitates art, and vice versa. We seem to push our way through situations identical to those depicted in paintings, music, and theatre. As is the case with art, a prominent genre in the life of a human being is tragedy. How do we define tragedy? How do we define theatre in general?

The Kind of Thing That Would Happen (performed by Agora Dance) cruises into these questions using a theatre/dance hybrid performance as its vehicle. Artistic Director/Choreographer Olivia Sabee allows theatre to run alongside real life, causing the two concepts to aid, intercept, and crash into each other. Audience members will bear witness to visual definitions of theatre, tragedy, and performance.

Sabee uses a contemporary balletic movement quality throughout the performance, which further pushes the concept of theatre. At the same time, pedestrian movement weaving in and out of the mix will provide a visual model of life itself. Audiences will find themselves sitting between situations that were created for the sake of art, and situations that occur in real life. Many lessons will be taken away from the realization that both types of situations mirror each other to an astounding degree.

As for the question of what theatre and tragedy are, the answers are posed in the title. The Kind of Thing That Would Happen is based on an Aristotelian concept which involves deep meditation around the definitions of theatre, tragedy, and performance. Aristotle believed that tragedy needs to cause a type of catharsis among the audience in order to create a relatable work.

He also deduced that life can consist of events that should happen, events that are intercepted due to actual circumstances, and events that occur out of spontaneity. The title of this performance plays with the concept of determining what would happen should certain events occur, and what actually does happen. From there, one must differentiate between life’s real and imagined occurrences.  

Works which dive deep into philosophical concepts are nothing new to Agora Dance. In fact, the company itself is a testament to the discovery of all things new, diverse, and unexplored. Agora allows upcoming choreographers to create works which take balletic movement and stretch it around different concepts and stories. Aside from the movement and concepts Agora Dance takes on, their repertoire also contains both site-specific pieces and pieces set for a stage. The Kind of Thing That Would Happen is no different, as the work exists inside of an apartment onstage.

Sabee is excited to share this concept with audiences. She stated that spectators can expect a fully staged piece which crosses theatre and dance, all within an intricate set.

Event Details:
Saturday, Dec. 10 at 8pm
Sunday, Dec. 11 at 7pm

Dance Place
3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
(two blocks from Brookland Red Line metro stop by Catholic University).

Ticket Prices:
$15-$25/General Admission

*Box office will open one hour prior to performance start time.
To Purchase Tickets and Venue Information: 202-269-1600.

For more information about the company: