Who are we? One day, we’re happy. The next, we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, fight with a partner, feel alone. Sometimes, we seem like different people, but which is the real us?
Ronen Koresh takes a deep dive into these questions in Sense of Human, a 2010 work he revived for the Koresh Dance Company’s spring season at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, with performances through Sunday.
His company, home after a 17-city tour, explores those questions with movement that is highly evocative and athletic without being filled with tricks. The dancers throw their entire bodies into emotional scenes with deep pliés, strong port de bras, contractions, and expressive faces.
The piece opens with a dancer’s foot popping out from behind the curtain, twirling carelessly to “La Vie en Rose.” But as the scene opens, we see her emotions go downhill from there. She is joined by the rest of the company in a dance that repeats similar phrases of movement with a variety of emotions, often an increasingly angry energy. Eventually, the set goes dark so she can go to sleep, perhaps to wake up the next day with a different feeling.
And, sure enough, the next scene features slower, smoother, calmer movements. The dancers explain what they’re feeling (“there’s a symphony in my head”) but are nearly drowned out by loud music.
There’s also a duet, to music by the Beatles and Greg Smith, with Melissa Rector and Micah Geyer dancing a love that is perhaps too comfortable. Rector (who is also assistant artistic director) leans into Geyer, and he pushes her back, sometimes trying to get her to stand on her own, other times brushing her off. But despite the tension, the scene closes as it opens, with “All You Need Is Love,” and Rector all but squeals with delight.
Each vignette highlights another set of dancers, another facet of what it means to be human, another set of costumes. The company dances in the rain and performs a refined line dance in western garb.
“La Vie en Rose” is repeated near the end of the program, with the dancers lighted in red against a background of lights. A single dancer moves with and without the group, feeling the love, but not quite fitting in.
Isn’t that always the way?
Koresh Dance Company, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Koresh Kouture gala performance and fashion show 6 p.m. Sunday. Suzanne Roberts Theatre. $20-$40. Gala $75, $40 students. myptc.philadelphiatheatrecompany.org/