Wednesday, January 4, 2012

“Into the Dark Wood” brings out the dark side of fairy tale heroines

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2012 at 11:40 AM

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Brooks and Company's Into the Dark Wood is one of the first dance productions of what promises to be a busy new year on the Atlanta dance scene. The show, which plays at the Balzer Theatre January 5-7, explores the dark side of three fairy tales: Hans Christian Anderson's “The Ice Queen”; the Slavic folktale "Baba Yaga”; and the Bluebeard-like English tale “Mr. Fox.”

“I would say they're 'dark' only because we're telling the original versions, not the Disney versions,” says the show's creator and choreographer Kristyn McGeehan. “When you string the stories together, it tells a larger story. The first one is innocent, and each of the heroines gets a little darker as it moves along. It felt like the arc of a life to me.”

The stories are linked together by a narrator but are told primarily through dance. Though the dancers in Brooks and Company are classically trained, the segments of the show utilize a range of styles: “The Ice Queen” is told with balletic movement, “Baba Yaga” in a more modern style, and “Mr. Fox” has a jazz feel, McGeehan says.

Into the Dark Wood actually represents the first full production that Brooks and Company will perform without the eponymous 'Brooks.' The group's founder Joanna Brooks, who created the company in 2005, recently left Atlanta to explore an interest in film. “I'd been choreographing for the company for a while,” says McGeehan, a founding company member and formerly assistant director under Brooks. “I had ideas and just wanted to keep moving forward. We didn't just want to end things.” For now the company will retain its name: Brooks is still involved with productions though McGeehan is shepherding the company for the time being. “I've got plans for the next couple years,” says McGeehan, “and Joanna is seeing where this takes her. We'll just have to keep re-exploring as we move on.”

Brooks and Company presents "Into the Dark Wood" on Thursday, January 5, at 7:30 pm and on Friday and Saturday, January 6-7, at 8 pm at the Balzer Theater, 84 Luckie Street. Tickets are $12-20. For more information, visit Brooks and Company or call the Balzer Theatre Box Office at (678) 528-1500.

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