PREVIEW: I.C. Movement Project at Strathmore

From the DC Dance Journalism Project:

Preview: “Through the Glass Ceiling” by I.C. Movement Project at Strathmore
by Matthew Rock

ICMovement“Through the Glass Ceiling,” a new contemporary ballet choreographed by Ivy Chow, artistic director of I.C. Movement Project and MFA student at George Washington University, seems to be anything but fragile as it touches base on the gender inequality issues that are prevalent in ballet today. Chow and I discussed this topic in depth, and she produced quite a few surprising statistics about the uneven male-to-female ratio of choreographers in ballet. While there are many more women in ballet, there is a distinct lack of female ballet choreographers. For Chow, awareness of this issue began to turn the wheel of what would then develop into a more broad idea of gender equality in dance. In our conversation, Chow also went on to delineate how the increased pressure during early training on female dancers, who face much more competition, can cause these female dancers to grow up with self-doubt, diffidence, and potentially stifled leadership abilities and communication skills.

Chow’s choreography portrays how gender inequality can manifest in a variety of ways—physically, mentally, and financially—and how we should work to support each other as equals. Chow’s passion about gender equality seemed to surface during a graduate dance pedagogical class for her research thesis project. During a discussion with one of her professors, Chow expressed ideas of starting this work and a company as well, but explained that the timing wasn’t right. Her professor confronted her on the spot by asking if she was making excuses and having self-doubt like the young females training in traditional ballet that she referred to before. This seemed to resonate with Chow and ultimately propelled her to create this new work and company, adding her name to the short list of female ballet choreographers.

Her new company, I.C. Movement Project, consists of 10-12 dancers performing on what seems to be mostly a minimalist stage setting. For this show, they are collaborating with innovative musician, George Shaw. Shaw creatively combines the acoustic sounds of traditional ballet music, such as the tinkling of the ivories and angelic harp notes, with the modern and unorthodox sounds of electric and percussive timbre. This original music score sets a dynamic mood throughout the piece and compliments the patterns of movements that range from staccato and flicking to lush and lethargic. One image that resonated with me was watching one dancer slowly enter the stage with a myriad of pointe shoes tied to her in a line, which seemed to represent the burden of gender inequality in dance. In a way, the pointe shoes also seem to reflect the fact that many female dancers will always carry the psychological effect of past experiences and their gender specific pressures in the rigid world of ballet. So, come on out to the Studio Theater at Strathmore this Saturday, August 6th at 7:30pm and Sunday, August 7th at 2pm and ‘break’ “Through The Glass Ceiling” with I.C. Movement Project as they push the seal on gender equality in this compelling new work!

Performance Information:

Saturday, August 6th at 7:30pm
Sunday, August 7th at 2pm

CityDance Studio Theater at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Ln
North Bethesda, MD 20852

Tickets $20-30 Online
$35 at the door