SpectorDance’s East West

By Scott MacClelland

SEEN AT at Hartnell College last Saturday night, East West demonstrated how relevant to contemporary society dance can be. This work, inspired by Monterey County’s unenviable reputation as home to the most violent gang-culture in California, enacts all the raw emotional content of gang warfare, prison life and grieving families. Envisioned by creative director Fran Spector Atkins, it includes commentaries from youth who are Prison Chains_9103svulnerable to gang culture, soul-searching words from affected people in the community and firsthand accounts of gang-violence. The production includes stunning visual imagery integrated by William Roden and gripping contextual recitations by rap artist Baba Brinkman. The dancers bring their highly physical talents to the co-creative process. Colton Pierson Geiger, Anne-Marie Talmadge, Phillip Wainwright (hip hop choreographer) and associate director Jones Welsh are as much calisthenic athletes as creative artists. Talmadge’s solo performance as the grieving mother brought some in the audience to tears, including me. Any city that suffers from gang-culture should see this program. In less than one hour, it makes an unforgettable, perhaps life-changing, impact. (Jones Welsh photo by William Roden)