Arts on the Horizon: October

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By Rodger Skidmore

New directions

Children who become artists start painting and drawing just like everyone else — squiggles on blank paper. They continue with a coloring book and produce lots of green hair overrunning the lines of Cinderella’s head, cascading over her gown, and on down to her feet. A year or so later the hair may become brown or blonde and be confined, like a glued-on wig, to the top of each princess’s head. It is only later, when artists know who they are, that they again draw and paint outside the lines.

Born in Prague, raised there and in Jerusalem, working in the world of fashion design in New York, and now totally devoting her life to family and art, Andrea Dasha Reich resides and works in Sarasota.

But, it seems, nowhere in the art she currently creates does one find a straight line. Yes, looking back at the different arcs of her work one can see, in her Cubistic period, those straight lines. But even then, the lines were fuzzy with colors bleeding into one another.

Over the last years Ms. Reich’s groundbreaking work in Resin-based acrylics has brought her great acclaim, with a number of galleries representing her across the US. With the assistance of her husband, and his knowledge of dental based resins, she was able to interweave multiple levels of translucence — each containing variously colored amorphisms.

During this time her resin-based main arc splintered in multiple directions. Using this same approach but with glass instead of resins layers on canvas, her paintings became free-standing sculptures. Or, using resin impregnated fabric she was able to mold and shape these into much freer forms.

Leaving glass and fabric behind, a good deal of her energy is now directed on her paintings, Ms Reich has doubled down on resin; single layer, infused with pure raw acrylics. She has said, “I am in control of the process 50% of the time, the acrylics are in control of the rest, as they have a life of their own.” Not content with a single focus, she has started working on bas-relief and free form ceramics overlaid with acrylic paint.

If one looks closely, and doing so give one great pleasure, one can see a single theme of overlayment that has taken place in multiple directions, using resins, glass, acrylics, fabrics, and ceramics to harmonious effects. Ms. Reich’s latest show, Silk Road, will be on display at the Art Ovation Hotel with a 5:30 p.m. opening reception on Oct. 19.

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First things first

October is month number 10 of every year. And if one graphically subtracts nothing (0) from 10, the result is 1. So, while January is the first month of the year, one could say that October is the premiere month — especially since the Sarasota Ballet is presenting three world premieres on Oct. 21 through 23 at the Mertz Theatre at FSU’s Center for the Performing Arts.

In keeping with the mathematics of October, Ricardo Graziano will be presenting his 10th One act ballet for the SBC as its resident choreographer. And in keeping with the mood of the world, and the scariness of Halloween, we will see a group of nomads wandering, in a choreographed way, across deserted landscapes, facing unknown difficulties but, ultimately, persevering through a sense of community.

Helping to set the tone is Shostakovich’s hauntingly apt Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor. Graziano’s takeaway is that “relationships help us grow stronger and wiser” — let us hope.

It took Hannibal 16 days to cross the Alps with his 15,000 horses and 37 elephants, while the dancers in Richard House’s new work do so in only seven as they perform this premiere to the music of Ludovico Einaudi’s composition Seven Days Walking. It must be a much easier journey without the elephants. But not too easy, as they experience hallucinations along the way — hypagogia (transitional state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep) will do that to you. This composition, when played by its author, took a bit over six hours to be recorded. Hallucinations must have been everywhere.

The third first is the work of choreographer Gemma Bond, which will be accompanied by Samuel Barber’s Excursions and his Piano Sonata, Op. 26. Costume design will be by Lauren Starobin.

 The music to which these ballets will be performed is at times lyrical but often eerily and penetratingly impenetrable. The Shostakovich must have been quite an inspiration to Mr. Graziano and will be played by Trio Gala (based in Boston) which appears courtesy of the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota.

And speaking of premieres and (luscious) music, on Nov. 18 and 19 at the Sarasota Opera House the Sarasota Ballet is performing two company premieres — Danses Concertantes by Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Dante Sonata by Sir Frederick Ashton. Plus Rhapsody, also by Sir Frederick.

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Mid-month spectacular

The Great White Way was how newspapers used to refer to Broadway, but with the cost of electricity, environmental concerns, and its shut-down from COVID-19, Broadway’s other name, The Street of Dreams, seems more appropriate nowadays. On the 15th of the month, the dreamy dance revue Broadway comes to the Van Wezel for a one-day showcase of local and international stars performing the choreographic presentations of Louis Van Amstel.

It’s one thing to see the smooth moves and flashy dance attire of Dancing with the Stars on the small screen in your living room, but seeing the swirling colors on stage is quite another. There will be professional ballroom dancing with classical as well as tango and Latin rhythms. And, thankfully, they promise no macarena or electric slide.

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Last things last

October is one of those long 31-day months, so it’s not surprising that one could get a little drowsy (hopefully no hypagogic hallucinations) toward the end of the month. One quick way to wake up is to take a cold shower, while another is to have someone jump out from behind a tree and shout BOO! and give you a good scare.

There will be no scarcity of scares (of a mild child-friendly sort) at the Spanish Point campus of Selby Gardens from Oct. 14 through 31. The attraction at that venue will be titled Lights at Spooky Point. Orchids are usually, in the daytime, pretty flowers with various shapes. At night, at Spooky Point, the ghost orchids, bat orchids and spider orchids will try to entangle all the little ones in their webs. There will be vine-twisted skeletons, pumpkins, and a number of other surprises. Red, purple, and orange lights will guide everyone to the end of the twisting and twisted walk to a hay maze in which one can lose oneself in the evening’s festive atmosphere. The Michael’s East food truck magically appears, mid-walk, during each evening’s two shows.

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Rodger Skidmore
Author: Rodger Skidmore

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