Three is a Magic Number: The Dance Journey of "3x3: 2023" Delivers Triple the Enjoyment

The fall premiere of The Seldoms' "3x3: 2023" mesmerized the audience at the Visceral Dance Center’s Ann Barzel Theater, November 4-5. The event premiered three awe-inspiring performances created by choreographers Deandra Alaba, Damon D. Green and guest artist Tina Diaz. Guided by the artistic vision of Carrie Hanson, each performance became a catalyst for introspection on identity and one’s connection to the surrounding space.
The three-part show began with Deandra Alaba’s piece titled “Common Sense” and featured dancers Haley Marcin and Maggie Vannucci. As soft light illuminates the stage, the audience is confronted with a scene of striking simplicity. One dancer is immersed in a book within the confines of a bed, while the other leisurely grinds coffee beans. The audience observes this portrayal of everyday life in silence, interrupted only by the jarring sounds of the coffee beans being ground.
These moments of the ordinary, interspersed throughout the performance inspire the audience to contemplate the essence of rest and how various senses come to life during moments of stillness. What does relief taste like? Comfort sound like? The dancers tackle these questions with slow, uncertain contortions of the body that eventually erupt into a swirling force—explosive arms, thrashing heads and shaking hands—almost impossible to contain. The stark differences left the audience breathless.
The second piece, “Chameleon Degradation,” choreographed by Damon D. Green, showcases dancers Charles Pierson and Gabriela Chavez. It delves into the nuanced experiences of Black individuals who live the confusing, and often degrading, experience of “code-switching,” a concept Damon himself defined as “simultaneously mak[ing] accommodations and try[ing] to create an acceptable situation for yourself and the environment you're in.” The performance reflects this complicated experience through its kaleidoscopic music, contemplative movement, and ever-changing lighting.
The music is a meticulously crafted mosaic featuring various diverse Black voices expressing their personal experiences. The musical genres span from gospel and choral arrangements to orchestral pieces and spoken word performances, creating a rich tapestry of musical expression. With each song transition, the lighting underwent a corresponding change; from red, white, and blue spotlights to a soft blue glow to an eerie orange haze. The shifting light painted the dancer's all-white attire. 
Choreographers Deandra Alaba (left), Tina Dia (middle), and Damon D. Green (right); Photo by Michelle Reid.
The dancers begin by exploring their physical bodies. Seeing their bodies for the first time, each dancer undergoes a personal journey of self-discovery with slow hugs, gentle touches, and an uncertain gaze. The audience watches as they grapple with their bodies and how this shapes their relationship with the space around them. Gradually, the dancers converge, their separate movements merging into one, offering immediate support to each other, respecting and uplifting each other.
The final offering, "Beneath My Mother Tree," choreographed by Tina Diaz, showcased the entire ensemble—Deandra Alaba, Gabriela Chavez, Damon D. Green, Haley Marcin, Charles Pierson, and Maggie Vannucci. Set against a backdrop of a gentle, melodic piano score, intermingled with the occasional sounds of footsteps and flowing water, Diaz created an atmosphere of interconnectedness. The performance echoed the symbolism of an ancestral tree, with the bodies of the dancers being intertwined in a complex amalgamation; seemingly impossible to separate.  
The dancers moved in perfect harmony, seamlessly supporting one another. Every push was met with a corresponding pull from another dancer, creating a synchronized and fluid performance. The continuity between each movement was effortless, blurring the lines between individual dancers and melding their motions into a cohesive and mesmerizing flow of connectivity; as if imitating roots deeply embedded in the Earth and evoking a profound feeling of grounding and belonging.
As the final notes hung in the air and the lights dimmed, the audience fell into a silence of hushed anticipation, reluctant for the experience to conclude. The three pieces had built upon one another and left their viewers enveloped in a euphoric sense of awe. The remarkable dancers of The Seldom’s ensemble translated the nuanced vision of the choreographers. They breathed life into each piece. Their meticulous execution, combined with the focused choreography, portrayed a journey of self-exploration.
Overall, the fall premiere of The Seldoms' "3x3: 2023" emerged as a triumphant success, leaving a lasting impact, and established the Visceral Dance Center as a venue to visit again.