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A modern interpretation

By Keegan Prosser on February 7, 2013 – No Comment

By Gabrielle Nomura

For years, the Eastside has been synonymous with high-tech and high-fashion. Now it can add high-quality modern dance.

A performing art previously only thought to live in Seattle, modern dance is here to stay thanks to local choreographer Eva Stone.

Why should people care about this art form? Dance allows people to think abstractly, opening an avenue in peoples’ brains to free-thinking, Stone says; not to mention how important it is to expose children to the performing arts in general, in the wake of so many arts programs being cut from schools.

“We can apply this creativity to parenting, science, math, reading. This type of thinking helps us move forward as a society and as a world,” Stone says.

It’s this reason precisely why, for the sixth year in a row, Stone is bringing back her labor of love, the Eastside’s only contemporary dance showcase, Chop Shop: Bodies of Work. For one weekend Feb. 16-17, Bellevue’s Theatre at Meydenbauer Center will be invaded by talented dancers and dance troupes from the region, Vancouver, British Columbia and the New York City dance scene.

Last month, Stone promoted the festival through her free community programs; one, a lecture on demystifying the creative process of how a dance is made, and the other, a 101 class for modern dance newbies ages 8 to adult.

“The reward is the light going on in their eyes, when I see them realize this is so cool. That’s where I get the reward. That’s what I am constantly trying to build,” says Stone, a self-proclaimed evangelist for modern dance.

Stone will continue to try and make new converts to the art form with the upcoming performance aspect of Chop Shop. Here, Puget Sound dance-lovers will recognize local dancers-turned choreographers, Spectrum Dance Theater’s Vincent Michael Lopez, as well as Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers Kiyon Gaines and Andrew Bartee, in addition to being exposed to companies that might be new for some: MOVE: the company (New York), Shayla Bott & Company (Utah), The Stone Dance Collective (Eastside), Mid Columbia Ballet (Richland), Heather Dotto (Vancouver, B.C.) and Bennyroyce Dance Productions (New York).

Despite that most of the dancers hail from seemingly bun-head backgrounds, Stone assures audiences there will be no ethereal swans, tutus or pointe shoes here — only barefoot, provocative works that speak to the human experience and take audiences on a journey, not always narrative, but meaningful in a unique way.

The best part is, that with so many different artistic visions to take the stage, there’s always something for everyone.

“I love the buffet style of this festival,” Stone says. “You’ll be watching something and then 10 minutes later, something completely different happens.”

Chop Shop: Bodies of Work is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, at The Theatre at Meydenbauer Center: 11100 NE Sixth St., Bellevue. Tickets are $10 for groups of 10 or more, $20 for students and seniors and $25 for general admission. For more information, go HERE.