Sonia Plumb Dance is returning to the stage April 21st and 22nd at the Bushnell in Hartford. The premise is conveyed as “more than five hundred years later, Leonardo da Vinci continues to fascinate and intrigue. And now Sonia Plumb Dance has created an exciting new work inspired by his genius. With Leonardo as her muse, award-winning choreographer Sonia Plumb explores the artist and polymath’s relationship with Renaissance Humanism and the inextricable connection between science and art.”
The story of how the performance came about is a unique one. “To dance is human. I have been interested in Leonardo da Vinci’s work and his connection to humanity as it relates to dance for many years,” says Ms. Plumb. One day while at the gym, she observed the mindful execution of movement by CrossFitters for both need and pleasure. “These Crossfitters were so diverse in terms of culture, race and gender – a true cross section of humanity.” she continued.
Plumb looked at da Vinci’s notebook and took inspiration from how the“Golden Ratio” (as seen in his Vitruvian Man), and his fascination with futuristic machine building intersected with art, but not specifically dance. Plumb was also working to develop to create an arts education STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) program and things fell into place. Plumb felt dance could explore the connections da Vinci’s work could create between dance and the sciences.
In “The Dance of da Vinci”, the group will team up with the CitySingers of Hartford who w ill be on stage performing acapella songs including Renaissance-era selections and new music by composer Michael Wall.
Plumb’s company appeared on the Bushnell stage in 2016 performing “Fire Or Ice” which featured several different dance stories and music choices. Before that, Plumb’s take on “The Odyssey” made the rounds around the state and covered the entire epic via dance. (Both of which were attended and raved about by the author. Fire or Ice, The Odyssey)
The Sonia Plumb Dance Company (SPDC) was formed in 1990 with a mission “to enrich, educate, and connect diverse audiences through innovative modern dance.” The company’s work covers a variety of areas serving diverse audiences statewide through live performances; K-12 arts education; community engagement events; collegiate and professional level classes; movement programs for children with autism, and dance apprenticeships for talented high school graduates lacking the socio-economic resources to attend college level dance programs.
This includes in greater Hartford where Plumb knows that drawing dance audiences goes beyond what is seen on stage. “We must invest in dance made in Greater Hartford, by Greater Hartford’s dance community.” In order to do that, she maintains, “We need to pay our dancers, provide them with performance opportunities, and cultivate our next generation of dancers and arts educators.” Plumb is on track with her vision. In 2016, with a grant from Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, she established the Sonia Plumb Dance Apprenticeship Training program to support talented high school graduates who cannot afford to attend college dance programs. These paid apprentices take class, rehearse, and perform alongside professional company members.
(Note: Largely drawn from a SPDC press release.)