Dance theater of the absurd

The Beyond Ballroom Dance Company finds that rules are made to be broken

Katie Wilber

Elegance and innovation take this company beyond ballroom, but a little comedy never hurt, either.

The Southern Theater will host the Beyond Ballroom Dance Company for a two-week run that includes a smash hit from last year and brand-new work.

Formed last year by championship dancers Deanne Michael and Julie Jacobson, the dance company aims to break away from the rigid structure of competitive ballroom dance.

“Ballroom dance is very strict, and it’s lost some of the artistry because of the focus on technique,” Michael said. “We’ve focused on technique for so long that this is a chance for us to break out of that realm and get back to the artistry.”

The dance company’s first piece, “Dinner for Seven,” is back on the program for the upcoming show. The company tried to capture relationships, the essence behind ballroom dance, and transfer it onto the stage.

“We use the different dances as characteristics for the dance, and it really took on a life of its own,” Michael said.

The basic plot involves a couple that has a dinner party, but tensions rise when another woman comes between the host and hostess.

“We started it as a serious dance, but the more serious we were, the funnier it was,” Michael said.

The seven members knew one another before the Beyond Ballroom Dance Company, mainly through the competition circuits, and some have partnered together or taught at the same studios. Michael and Jacobson said they wanted to find local dancers for their company, but they came up with an odd number.

“We couldn’t find another girl last year, so we have a company of four men and three women,” Michael said. “It’s turned out to be a neat dynamic with the odd man out. If we need more dancers, we might hire two, since we got so much creativity out of seven dancers.”

Beyond Ballroom Dance Company sprung from the rigid rules of competitive ballroom dance, but the company transcends its roots.