Dance review: Continuum explores many sides of a woman

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Sarah Parker found her own voice a couple of years ago when she explored the working woman’s daytime/nighttime dynamic in “The Movement.” In 2013, she expanded that idea in “objects of DESIRE.”

Dance harbors a certain sexual tension between man and woman, yet Ms. Parker found her niche in those two productions by developing a feminist approach with her all-female company, Continuum Dance Theater.


Where: Off the Wall Theater, Carnegie.

When: 8 tonight; 3 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets: 1-888-71-TICKETS or

This time, she added LaMar Williams as a guest artist, enabling her to toy with sexual identity in her newest work, “EMPIRE,” on display at the intimate Off the Wall theater in Carnegie through Sunday.

In “EMPIRE” the Continuum women dared to dream, to build their own kingdoms through robust imaginations. They touched on four areas -- motherhood, the working woman, sexual identity and power.

An overworked and overburdened Stephanie Frey Anderson dragged herself across the floor in “Mother by Nature,” but she was the perfect cook and hostess in her mind. “The BOARDROOM,” featuring Heather Jacobs (although it was hard to define her) tapped the corporate environment, albeit a bit over-”board.”

“Hail the QUEEN” began with a quote, “I was born a queen.” Easily the most physical of them all, this finale whirled around a confident Elisa-Marie Alaio. But was she really in charge? When a golden crown appeared, the performers each played with it, coveted it, but easily gave it up (there could have been more resistance to make it interesting). And, yes, it was meant, as we knew from the start, for Ms. Alaio.

The strongest section, however, was the third, “Identity.” Mr. Williams and Michelle Skeirik began as a man and a woman uncomfortable in their own skins. They started to switch life roles but with a real respect for gender. Where the other segments were more direct, almost surreal, this duet added layers as the performers made the transition, making it the most personal and the most satisfying work.

Former Post-Gazette critic Jane Vranish can be reached at She blogs at





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