(This review is written by American-Statesman freelance arts critic Claire Christine Spera.)
Where are you? Where were you? Tapestry Dance Company’s latest production, “In Your Shoes,” which continues through Oct. 11 at the Long Center, starts in the present then looks to the past while centering on the theme of homelessness.
An orphan, a frenzied businessman, an army veteran, a misunderstood teenager — these are some of the characters Tapestry’s five tap company members and three apprentices (plus Tapestry artistic director Acia Gray) portray.
Who are they, and how did they get here?
Set largely to atmospheric music by Imogen Heap, “In Your Shoes” highlights the humanity of those we so often push to the fringes of society. There is no averting your eyes here — not that you’d want to look away. The tapping is fabulous, the rhythms intricate and complex. And what better medium to put such a hush-hush theme in the spotlight than tap dance, that staccato art?
Each of the five company members is a strong, technically adroit dancer in their own right, but their individual styles lent a particular dimension to each character they portrayed.
As a businessman who finally succumbed to the insanity of his job, Jeremy Arnold buzzed his feet around the stage feverishly, evoking a high-energy storm. It’s easy to see how the pressure got to him.
Yuka Kameda, as the orphan, held a stuffed-animal bear, her rhythms communicating her painful loneliness. When we see where she came from (in Act II), she’s childish, carefree and innocent. We know that will change.
For Andrea Torres’ character, her “before” — depicted while dancing to Selena Gomez’s “Good For You” — conjures images of a teen prancing around her bedroom, invisible mic held to her lips. Her “after,” where she is now, she is older, hardened.
Michael Love’s breezy quality was a pleasure to watch; he made everything seem effortless, even though his rhythms required such precision. When we meet B’Jon Carter’s army veteran character, he has a lost look in his eyes, a sharp contrast to his “before,” when he tapped precisely to the sounds of a military drum ensemble, sure of who he was.
We understand how surprisingly easy it can be to find yourself in another’s shoes, shoes you never thought you’d wear
“In Your Shoes” continues through Oct. 11. www.thelongcenter.org