Keeping with our Dance theme of the week, Rutgers Newark Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience department, scored high marks as they a brought physical dance performance to Bradley Hall theater. Brian Sanders JUNK, Found Objects, A Symposium on Modern Dance and Physical theater, from beginning to end gave an energetic, fast pace, and physical acrobatics performance that wowed the audience. If there is one word that defines the dance style of Brian Sanders’ JUNK Dance Company it is: Unique.
Where else will you see a trash dance done with a garbage can? Or a old man with a head at the bottom and legs at the top? Or a door frame that literally frames a dance that turns into a sculpture of found objects?
As Sanders explains, JUNK’s mission as a dance-theater company is to inspire with creativity. The company strives to produce work that is artistic and accessible. Through original productions and community outreach JUNK seeks to serve as a catalyst for generating fresh ideas and to encourage us to see the world in a new and vital way. “With JUNK Dance Company, from Philadelphia began the performance with a dance movements with everyday metal trash, a pogo stick ballet, and a modern dance with doors. set the stage for an exciting evening, simply amazing unexpected evening. the idea is to dance with animated found objects.
It’s playful, otherworldly and gives a whole new life to objects like window frames, pogo sticks and trash cans,” says Brian Sanders, founder and creator of JUNK. He compares himself to a sculptor who molds discarded junkyard finds into dance partners for his sprightly dancers. There may be some inspiration from the all-time great Fred Astaire, who danced with a coat rack and an umbrella, and in one of his most famous routines, on the walls and ceiling.
Sanders’ dancers seem to defy the laws of gravity — and perhaps the laws of human physiology.
It doesn’t seem possible that a dancer could actually bend her body that way. And how did he magically turn upside down and seem to float in the air, twisted and molded into a form that is obviously impossible? Or is it?
Known for his ingenious use of found objects and clever inventions that bridge the gap between dance and physical theater, Sanders’ choreography blends traditional dance theater with inventiveness and physicality. The dancers, are trained in ballet and modern techniques, and train by strengthening the body buy lifting themselves against and with other objects and other dancers. ”We learn our bodies and working with lifting the bodies of other dancers. There are varying apparatuses that are in our studio that we work on to build strength”.
No wonder critics have hailed JUNK as “Philly’s most imaginative perpetrator of dare-devilish physical theater.” Dance Magazine calls Sanders’ work “accessible, technically flawless, and thrilling comic dance turns.”
“I grew up in Princeton as one of six brothers, and I was pretty reckless. Dance and gymnastics were a way to channel all that energy,” says Sanders, who is in his 40s and now uses his energy as choreographer. “I let the young dancers have their turn.” Nearly all the dancers are either students or graduates from the University of Arts, Philadelphia.
Like most dancers, Sanders was classically trained in ballet. But he took his talent in a different direction, inspired by the inventiveness of shows such as Bob Fosse’s “Dancin’” and the work of the Pilobolus dance company. Sanders would eventually perform and choreograph for 10 years with one of the founding members of Pilobolus, Moses Pendleton, in his MOMIX dance company.
After receiving his BFA from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, in 1992, Sanders founded Archetype Dance Company. He served as a performer/choreographer and self-produced several evening-length works. He re-established the company in 1997 as JUNK and since then has performed regularly in Philadelphia and the surrounding area.
“I like to find the dance inside these pieces of junk, something unique and unexpected that gives us a new and inspiring look on life,” says Sanders. “Our objective is to make dance more accessible to a younger audience through outreach programs.”
As Sanders explains, JUNK’s mission as a dance-theater company is to inspire with creativity. The company strives to produce work that is artistic and accessible. Through original productions and community outreach JUNK seeks to serve as a catalyst for generating fresh ideas and to encourage us to see the world in a new and vital way.
An exciting evening, simply amazing unexpected evening.