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Beautiful scars

Local modern dance company to perform piece about scars

Local modern dance company to perform piece about scars

July 10, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Choreographer Ray C. Shaw will unveil his latest work, "I Am," about the beauty of scars, at Goose Route Dance Festival.

Goose Route Dance Festival is a celebration of contemporary dance. The festival opens tonight, with a children's class, and will run through Sunday, July 20, at the War Memorial Building in Shepherdstown, with performances by dance companies from across the country. Performances start Friday, July 11.

While the festival has wide offerings, tenets of modern dance run deep in the choreography. Dancers use the visual aesthetic of movement to entertain and make audiences think, with topics veering from the effects of sexism to more intimate notions, like scars.

"Artistically, I thought, 'How interesting -- the tracing of the scar on the body, how we act when we have a scar, how we're aware of it, how others are aware of it,'" Shaw said. "If it's exposed, others may look at it, they may find it of interest, they may think, 'Oh, why do they have that?' Some people think scars are very ugly."

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Shaw's piece was inspired by his sister, a professional model and artist who has a scar along her sternum, the focal point of a photo shoot.

"When I saw the photos, I, first, of course, thought how beautiful they were, and I became obsessed with the scar and the beauty of the scar," Shaw said.

Shaw, a Phoenix transplant living in Shepherdstown, collaborated with Goose Route Arts Collaborative, the Shepherdstown dance company that founded the festival. The piece features himself, Goose Route founder Kitty Clark, and a capella vocal accompaniment by Eva Olsson.

Clark has the principal role as the one dealing with her scars. Olsson sings children's folk songs in Swedish.

"How (the songs) correlate with the piece, that's harder to say," Olsson said. "I think the idea is that the music will inspire the movements and the movements will inspire the singing. So it's not so much the lyrics, but it's the rhythm of the music and the movements together."

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