It seemed like a perfect summer evening as Staycee Pearl dance project seemingly set off the summer season with Playground.
The parking lot setting outside the SPdp studio was festive with poster boards, like large pages from coloring books with connecting strings of lights to define the dance area.
Before things started, audience members were instructed to carry their folding chairs to the opposite side of the area — no problem. Herman Pearl (DJ Soy Sos that night), set up his equipment in a corner of the 201 North Braddock Avenue location and a couple of vendors filled out the periphery.
The message was loud and clear — be informal and enjoy even though this particular project had been in the works for two years.
The dancers wore deliberately child-friendly attire, but sophisticated, too, with flirty baby doll dresses — black — for the women and denim shorts and black tees for the men.
As the title indicates, Playground was built on childhood, beginning with “play” of all sorts. That twirly, arms spread, face-to-the-sky position was probably something that everyone has done at one point in their lives.
Staycee neatly transferred that joy and freedom to the dancers and the dance.
Set to Soy Sos’ always impeccable sound landscape, they were still able to express their own individuality, which allowed the interactive games, including hide and seek (of course) and child-like movements to lend a welcome spirit to the more adult-like vocabulary.
Best of all was Staycee’s use of multiple fronts, movement that “plays” at different angles at the same time and is hard to conceive, and some of the best I’ve seen in a long time.