In Ulysses Dove’s Urban Folk Dance, two couples living side-by-side search for connection as they engage in ferocious power struggles. Characterized by a seamless blend of expressive theatricality and heart-stopping athleticism, Dove's choreography brilliantly captures the raw complexity of modern relationships.
Like many of Dove’s ballets, Urban Folk Dance explores the complex, sometimes bitter facets of love and passion. “Dove had such a sense of relationships,” says Associate Artistic Director Masazumi Chaya. “In his ballets, women and men are equally strong, physically and emotionally. When I teach Ulysses’ ballets, I tell the dancers, ‘you can move big, but you have to be real.’” Most of the movement takes place around two tables, and the four dancers remain onstage for the entire piece. This staging keeps the tension alive and heightens the suspense. “It’s an emotional roller-coaster,” adds Chaya. “That’s what Ulysses wanted to convey.”
Dwana Smallwood and Matthew Rushing in Urban Folk Dance, photo by Paul Kolnik