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SMAG tries some new brush strokes

SMAG Tries Some New Brush Strokes by Terry Morris

May 21, 2009 Dayton Daily News

Sunday afternoon in the park with SMAG? The contemporary fusion dance collective that goes by that name will incorporate painting, music, fashion design and improvisation into its spring concerts Sunday, May 24, inside the Dayton Playhouse.

The program will include a dance and livepainting work involving Dayton artist Mike Elsass, plus musicians Michael and Sandy Bashaw.

Another will incorporate fashion designers L’Amour Ameer, Richard Mosley II and Andrea Lyle working with the dancers, Columbus-based movement theater performer Annadroid and company will appear as guest artists and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 2 director Shonna Hickman Matlock will set a premiere on SMAG.

Whether or not it will prove to be the main attraction, the real-time collaboration with Elsass should prove to be interesting.

A 20- by 12-foot canvas will be spread on the floor. The painter will add paint. The dancers will step, leap, roll and join forces in, on and through it to create the painting. There may also be audience participation.

“Mike (Elsass) will direct the dancers to do what he wants in covering the 20- by 12-foot canvas with paint. Michael and Sandy (Bashaw) will provide the background music for the effort. The goal is to create a giant work similar to Elsass’ usual work, but on a larger scale,” SMAG director Michael Groomes. said.

“The end result will be cut up and either auctioned or sold to provide funds for SMAG’s Dance Boot Camp program or if somebody wants the work as a whole, they can make an offer for it. The idea behind the effort is more about the process.”

Groomes said there will be no nudity. “We are still evolving on that level, but there may be a surprise for the audience. The work will involve two male and two female dancers, so there will be a lot of partnering and some moments where everyone is piled in one place before oozing away from the pile.”

Elsass will talk about the finished work during intermission. There will be a follow-up reception, art exhibit and dance performance at Elsass’s Color of Energy studio, 16 Brown St., on June 5. The art made during Sunday’s performances will be sold at auction, to benefit SMAG.

“The project is all about the dancers and their energy  transformed onto canvas,” said Elsass, who was scheduled to do another live-painting appearance to live music on Thursday, May 21, at Blind Bob’s on East Fifth Street. He will do more during Sunday night concerts this summer at Stubbs Park Amphitheatre in Centerville.

Groomes said Annadroid is “a quirky blend of theater, dance and suburban culture.”