Dance review: Gia T. Presents a thoughtful work

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When improvisational artist Gia Cacalano first conceived "The Frequency of Structure and Flow," the focus was on the bright primary colors and mathematical shapes of Miguel Chevalier's installation "Power Pixels 2013" at Wood Street Galleries.

On Saturday in the gallery, her company, Gia T. Presents, produced a second installment in which her world was literally reversed. This time, the audience sat on the opposite side of the rectangular white space in red chairs.

More importantly, the ensemble of five dancers and one composer/musician decided to rearrange a trio of movable walls, one to split the entry way and the other two placed in the corners. They added texture to a film by Wendell Cooper, also a dancer in the ensemble, and were a great strategy for entrances, exits and disappearances.

The film set a much softer tone than the bold configurations found in the Chevalier installation. Running in a loop, it seemed cellular at times, like an internal view of an organism. At other times it resembled a cloud.

The film was constructed in shades of gray, the dominant theme of the evening. It extended to the costumes and to Michael McDermott's score, a sometimes palpable musical haze that most often draped over the movement like a fine mist.

Much of the preliminary work was conducted over the Internet, a necessity since her brother Vincent Cacialano (who spells his name differently) resides in Great Britain, Mr. Cooper in New York, Mr. McDermott in Philadelphia and Jil Stifel, intern Joanna Reed and Ms. Cacalano here.

Oddly enough there remained a sense of connectivity, even more so than in the first installment. For example, one dancer's arm manipulated the other or one performer moved another's limb.

The idea of shadows also carried through, sometimes as figures cast on the wall but also through the concept of "shadowing," in which performers created echoes of movement through a communal nurturing. The shadows begat the notion of sight in multiple definitions -- being totally aware, averting a gaze, even being blind.

There was a thoughtful integration of the various themes as the tempo escalated then collapsed into silence. The movement was like a virus that quickly traveled from one performer to another, so attuned were the dancers on all levels.

Although abstract in nature, there was an undeniable cohesion, almost a dance democracy, making this one of Ms. Cacalano's strongest works to date.

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Former Post-Gazette critic Jane Vranish: jvranish1@comcast.net. She blogs at pittsburghcrosscurrents.com.


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