I confess I had paid little attention to the Kennedy Center's DEMO: Song and Dance series until a little announcement that one of the performers would be Christopher Jackson. I would feel shallow, but I was seated next to a teenager who was bouncing in her seat at every mention in the program. That doesn't make me less shallow, but I wasn't alone in my shallowness.
The ides of the series is to merge song and dance in multi-genre ways. The performances are a single night which I imagine allows them to draw people unable to make a longer commitment. This evening included folks from the New York City Ballet, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Michelle Dorrance, Paul Irwin, and on the vocalist front Janet Dacal, Kate Davis, and the aforementioned Chris Jackson.
The night was a bit anthology style, in that some pieces references each other, but in many ways operated independently. Some were funny (particularly those featuring Bill Irwin, who spent the night in what I can only describle as very vaudevillian pants), some were heartwrenching, and some were joyous. Some pieces were a little more successful than others, and I confess, while I have great appreciation for dance, it is somewhat limited to I enjoyed watching that.
The mix of modern dance, soft shoe, tap, and ballet worked well with the various songs, which varied by era, but mostly stayed withing a mid-range tempo.
The show ran trhough without intermission and never made me wish for one, although I did occaisionally try to peek at m program to figure out what song that was.
Overall it was a fun evening and I'll keep a closer eye on the series in the future.