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September 17, 2010     Vineyard Gazette
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September 17, 2010

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2010 VINEYARD GAZETTE, MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MASS. FIVE-A Dancers Are Leaders Not Followers YOUNG DANCERS OF JUMP COMPANY LEARN TO TRUST CREATIVITY. At the end of last Saturday's af- ternoon performance at the Yard Mary Paula Hunter, the founder of the dance company Jump, took a bow with her dancers, all of them teenage girls. The girls wore what one might expect classically trained dancers to wear. Leotards, ballet shoes, a tutu or two here and there. Ms. Hunter, on the other hand, wore the ragged remains of a wedding dress. She was also covered in food. Ms. Hunter had begun her final dance, a piece entitled I Am Karen Finley, by coating herself in Pam. Then she dumped an entire bag of flour on her head. After taking a break from the food to continue her dance, which included cracking a few raw eggs with her stiletto heels, she poured a carton of hot fudge down the front of her dress. By the end of the dance, chunks of white bread lay about her shoulders, cracker crumbs stuck to her arms, whipped cream dripped from her ears, and Cheez Whiz puddles oozed among her clavicles. There were many children in the audience, all of them nearly paralyzed with glee. Was this really happen- ing, their gasps seemed to ask. A few rubbed their eyes in disbelief. Giggles were at first hesitant. Was it okay to laugh or would this woman soon be scolded and given a time-out? The children looked to their parents, all of whom were enjoying themselves immensely. Finally, the kids let loose their laughter and it filled the room all the way to the rafters. After cleaning up, Ms. Hunter sat on the risers icing her knee, which was dark blue and swollen. The teenaged dancers stood in front of her working out the kinks of one of their numbers before that evening's performance, 7 DAYS 8-11AM el'he CEdgartoWfi c'lntl. 56 North Water Street 508-627-4794 COVE INN & RESTAURANT Voted "Best Romantic Restaurant" by Cape Cod Life Magazine Serving Dinner Tuesday - Sunday from 5:30 pm Michael Gately at the piano Fridays and Saturdays Executive Chef foe DaSilva Call 508-693-2298 for reservations 90 Manaquayak Rd., Off Lambert's Cove Rd., West Tisbury Pictures courtesy of JUMP! Dance Company By BILL EVILLE "Your frogs look murky," Ms. Hunter said. "But that's my fault. I've edited you up to the last minute. I'm sorry. But still, now you have to own it." The girls went back to their frogs. Their pliCs became deeper, the expres- sions on their faces more frog-like, the lines of their bodies more pro- nounced. The scene was both funny and seri- ous. These young dancers could be playful and yet at the same time the refinement of their technique, a blend of ballet and modern dance, was un- mistakable. They were seasoned per- formers. "I started with Mary Paula when I was three years old," Elena Bonitati said. Miss Bonitati is now the ripe old age of 14. Jump dancers often begin with cre- ative movement classes, move up to ballet, and then ease into the official Jump progra'm when they are eight or nine years old. The Jump program is based in Providence, R.I., but evolved out of the New York dance movement which blended classical ballet with modern dance. Serious skill and dance discipline coupled with an anything- goes atmosphere. The food piece is a prime example, of course, but it is just one number among many. But it is an important one because it reveals so much of the personality of this dance company. "That piece shows that dance doesn't L Gr'er/i DinnerVtedBest Restaurant  "' ,, , ,, ..... Mart}l,a'sVineyard Magazine 2 Serving Dinner From 5"30 pm Reservations Suggested 96 Main Street, Vineyard Haven. 508-693-4906 have to be girls in pretty costumes, flitting about on stage," said Jessica Coons, age 17 and about to head off to college. "It can be something much more meaningful than that." Many of the other pieces performed by the teenage dancers reflected this ethos of girl power over girl objecti- fication. Barbie, set to the music of Barbie Girl by Aqualung, poked fun at the archetypal notion of girls as little smiling machines programmed to be delightful and cute. Rip Her to Shreds, set to Blondie's Rip Her to Shreds, in- troduced the far-too common activity of placing our girls on pedestals only to cut them down to size if they don't meet society's every desire. GI Jessica, set to Ennio Morricone's score for the spaghetti western, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, seemed to operate in more of a gray area. A condemnation of America's incessant flexing of its military muscle, boys with big toys, if you will. And yet at the same time it encouraged the idea that the feminine mystique is vast enough to include dancers dressed in camouflage hauling heavy artillery. Each dance piece, an expert bal- ancing act of using humor to deepen a mood, begs the question: where do these ideas come from? The answer is what makes this dance company so unique. They come from the dancers themselves. Learning to dance usually requires students simply to do what they are told.At Jump, students do what moves them. "Essentially we put on the music and just sort of mess around with it individually," explained Miss Coons. "Everyone makes up an eight or 16-count phrase and then shows the phrases to the group. We critique it, start meshing it together to create a skeleton or outline and then start the editing process." "It's like a show-and-tell sort of thing," added Sophie Herried, age 15. "Then we all take turns saying what didn't go with the music and what re- minded us of the music. You just sort of play off each other." If that sounds like a lot of free- wheeling fun, it is. "I learned from a young age that you can just improvise and if you do what your body feels like you can turn it into a dance," said Miss Bonitati. But it also requires hard work and creates a ripple effect outside of the dance studio. "I also learned discipline, to be serious and dedicated about what you're doing instead of giving up. This helps me every day," she concluded. For a long time Ms. Hunter made sure not to include her own work with that of her students. She didn't want them to feel as if she were telling them what to do. That notion, however, born more from her time at universi- ties where dancers might fear a bad grade if not emulating their instructor, began to lose its relevance with this more independent dance company. According to her dancers, the result of this meshing has been nothing but positive. SALTWATER RESTAURANT 79 Beach Road/Vineyard Haven in the .Tisbury Market Place Serving Dinner Wednesday - Sunday Overlooking Lagoon Pond wood g,rill ..... raw bar. Daily Lunch Specials Fresh Made Soups Garden Seating. Beer 4 Wine daily 6:30am - 6pro edgartown espressolove.eom 508-627-9211 On Saturday afternoon Ms. Hunter performed another dance, this one with text, that reflected an autobio- graphical take on her childhood. Miss Coons noted how Mary Paula had once said in response to the question of whether the piece was true in the verbatim, that the truest truth isn't always exactly true. "She started with something so lit- tle, one memory, and turned it into a whole dance," marveled Miss Coons. Had Ms. Hunter not included her own work with her dancers this insight might never have been born. Jump has left the Vineyard, at least for now, but there is always the chance to catch them around Providence. They frequently take their performances out into the community at libraries, the Capitol steps; essentially anywhere people gather. They are also perform- ing on Oct. 1 and 2 at Firehouse 13, a performance space at 41 Central street in downtown Providence.' If you go, expect the unexpected where content is concerned. In talent and guts, though, expect to witness a group of dancers who seem to know no limits. As Miss Coons put it, "To go out there and leave everything you've got on stage, that's one of the greatest feelings there is." BALANCING SERIOUS FUN. TWO for ONE Entr6es / \\; every Thursday, Friday, & Saturday , %,/  Serving Dinner Monday - Saturday from 5:30pm ["-(l ]] Two greapublic000ns-000 gem websites Planning a wedding or celebration on the Vineyard Memorable event planning begins with a copy of the i Vineyard Wedding Planner, i published by the Vineyard Gazette, and Martha's Vineyard Island Weddings, published by Martha's Vineyard Magazine. Request a copy of each publication and find additional planning resources on our websites: mvweddingplanner.c0m mvislandweddings.c0m jrlealth 00.0000ittiess D IR CTO R Y 1 : MEDICAL SERVICES AUDIOLOGY Vineyard Audiology Hearing Health Care for All Ages Lesley Segal-Pallas, MA CCC/A 696-4600 Vineyard Haven PHARMACY FITNESS RESIDENTIAL LIVING Coordination of medical I & other support services I Will accompany as needed to appointments on or off the Vineyard ROBERTA RAIMON MSW, LICSW 508-954-2727 I Leslie's Pharmacy i ,"i, s ,, 4. I,I I  Offering Quality Prescription I: i Se.,e at n Price Yon Can Afford ' Cosmetics, Sundries, Magazines, [][,,/ Russell Stover & vVhitman htlmgg,/ Chocolates, Newslxapers 8:30-5:30 Mos-SaT 9-2 SuN [AIN STREET, VINEYARD HavEN 693-1010 GREENBERG PHYSICAL & HAND THERAPY ASSOCIATES Larry Greenberg, PT, MS, M.ED Deborah Shipkin, OTR/L Individualized comprehensive Evaluation and treatment Specializing in: Orthopedic and sports injuries Repetitive strain injuries Arthritis and ioint replacements Neck and back pain West Tisbury 508-696-91 71 Martha's Vineyard Best Kept Secret 1st floor residential living Affordable living with assistance Affordable state programs to support your stay Call for free lunch & tour (508) 696-6465 x 735 W.Will dellle IVlllV,Ol' tamni* Sacred Circle of Yoga IBI , private consuhation www.sacrcdcircleofyog, MJ Bindu Oeiekta (508) 696-451:3 Think of it as a weekly "get well" card. You'll feel better just reading our Health & Fitness Directory, pub- lished weekly in the Ga- zette and twice-weekly in the summer months.