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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Performance Reviews
On Location
United States
Swarthmore, PA

Opus 1 Contemporary Dance

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 15, 2003
Swarthmore, PA

About the Author:

Opus 1 Contemporary Dance

Co-Artistic Directors: Lina Early and Tim Early
Lighting Design: James P. Murphy
Audio Editing: Tim Early
Costumes: Lina Early and Dancers
Swarthmore College
Lang Performing Arts Center
Swarthmore, PA

Review by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 15, 2003

Opus 1 Contemporary Dance is a recently established non-profit company and continues to grow. The Opus 1 administration is now seeking talented dancers, choreographers, singers, musicians, composers, costume designers, visual artists, and lighting designers. Any individuals who are talented in the arts, administration, financial development, or marketing are welcome to contact Opus 1 at the above phone or address.

Short Trip Home: Choreography by Lina Early and Tim Early, Music by Edgar Meyer and Allison Krauss, Performed by Tim Early, Jeff Alichnie, Kristina Haley, Bethanie Lori, Shannon Arms, Kathleen Leary, Barbara Powers, Lisa Rothstein, Jenn Stang, and the Company. With a decidedly American feel, white, flowing costumes, and bare feet, Opus 1 revved up the audience. This was a relaxed, upbeat piece with lovely configurations. In fact, the exuberant choreography reminded me of that of Agnes de Mille, one of my favorite choreographers of times past. The blue-sky background was elegant, and Kudos to James Murphy for brilliant lighting throughout the entire program.

I loved the sophisticated configurations; women framing men, and the all-American fiddle music, which literally made me want to join this dance. I detected, as well, some melancholy cello passages, but, for the most part, the music and dance were infectiously happy and quite lively.

Visual Interlude: With what seemed to be silk screen images, on an effective backdrop, this interlude, which was something like sorbet between courses, presented music for a free-style disco solo, that, had there been a partner, could have been hustle.

Shift: Choreography by Lina Early and Tim Early, Music by Steve Reich, Performed by Jeff Alichnie, Sophia Castaldi, Jennie Dillon, Tim Early, Kelly Frank, Annie-Laurie Hens, Makoto Hirano, Rod Landis, Jamie Marino, Heather Tomlinson, Regina Palamone, and Heather Phillips. This was a dynamic, high-energy piece, with women in short, but fantastic, blue and violet chiffon costumes, and men in tank tops and gray pants. As the music increased in volume, the patterns shifted, shifting weight, shifting balance, and shifting visual imagery. Athletic lifts, excellent focus and timing, and an energetic motif combined to create an abstract and wild work. I was thinking about seeing this piece again, only to Modern Jazz, as a contrast, for a slightly more subdued and different auditory effect.

Personals: Choreography by Lina Early, Music Sung by Patsy Kline, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Helen Morgan, Rosemary Clooney, Etta James, and Ella Fitzgerald, Performed by the Company, including (not yet mentioned) Jennifer Halligan, Elaine Marro, and Julia Vance. With the Company in chairs, this piece merged various themes, such as fifties and sixties vocal music, dating and match-making problems, voice-overs reading personals ads, and humorous, campy physicality, including throwing shoes to I Get a Kick Out of You. This was wholesome, adorable fun, coy and sassy. At this point, I'd like to mention the poised, theatrical performances of Co-Artistic Director, Tim Early, and dancer, Rod Landis, both of whom dance on a highly professional level. In fact, the entire Opus 1 Company was remarkably professional (See final comments).

Interlude: Find Your Way: Written and Performed by Blue Canvas - Emmett Stang, Acoustic Guitar, and Jenn Stang, Vocals. Again, this was a nice diversion, between dance works. Jenn Stang, a member of Opus 1 Contemporary Dance, and Emmett Stang performed very admirably and with enthusiasm and verve. They were totally delightful. This is a Pennsylvania-based Company and deserves full recognition for sophistication and creativity.

Dress: Choreography by Lina Early with Dancers' Improvisation in Stella, Music by P. J. Harvey and Nine Inch Nails, Performed by the Company. To what seemed to be Electric Rock, with a blue backdrop and casual clothes, energetic lifts and counterpoint choreography, including wildly daring leaps by the talented female dancers into the arms of waiting men, this dance was extremely well created. In fact, the black silhouettes against the lighter backdrop, was, once again, a brilliant lighting effect, with a dramatic fadeout.

My final comments on this first On Location with Roberta review, in Swarthmore, PA, are that the major cities, such as New York, do not own the market on Modern Dance Companies. Opus 1 is a prime example of the emerging talent in nearby states, and my Kudos go to Tim Early and Lina Early, Co-Artistic Directors, and to the entire Company of designers and dancers, for this wonderful and entertaining dance experience. Thanks to my brother, Steve Weinrebe, for introducing me to the Earlys and their creation, Opus 1 Contemporary Dance.

Candid Photos by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower with Guest Photographer, Steve Weinrebe

Opus 1 Contemporary Dance Company

More of Opus 1 Contemporary Dance Company

Tim Early (Also a Dancer) and Lina Early, Co-Artistic Directors

Tim Early, Rod Landis (Exec. Bd. and Dancer), Lina Early

Steve Weinrebe (Roberta's Brother), Debra Early (Exec. Bd.), Kristen Early, Marcia Ferber, Madeline Weinrebe

Roberta, Kristen Early, Debra Early

Tim Early and Brother, Steve Early (Artist)

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