By MEGHAN ROBERTS
KENNESAW, Ga. –The Atlanta dance community has been graced with artists from across the globe for the biennial dance festival Off The EDGE presented by Georgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts.
On March 4 and 5, the Rialto showcased seven different companies, three international, two national, and two local. Featuring different programs each night, both shows began at 8 p.m. and tickets are priced between $33 and $61 per person.
The companies performing in the first program included Gauthier Dance from Germany, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie from Canada, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion from New York, and Madboots Dance from New York.
The March 5 program presented different work from Gauthier Dance and Kyle Abraham as well as La Orta Orilla from Canada, Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi, and the Kennesaw State University dance company.
The third in a biennial performance series, Off The EDGE’s inaugural performance in 2012 facilitated a partnership between the Rialto and Kennesaw State University’s quickly growing dance department, headed by Ivan Pulinkala.
Rialto director Leslie Gordon and Pulinkala first met during this performance series and immediately saw the benefits of forming an alliance between the two institutions.
“We really had a lot interests in common, that he has certain levels of knowledge, that I have certain levels of knowledge and that we really could be of value to each other,” Gordon said. “Us by being able to present the companies that would enhance his student’s levels of awareness and knowledge of dance and him in how we could work together to make sure that these students had access to these companies and dancers.”
Ilter Ibrahimof, EDGE’s curator, sees Kennesaw’s involvement as a unique and beneficial aspect of the series.
“Involving KSU and Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi in Off The Edge, there’s certainly a local component to the festival which is great,” Ibrahimof said. “We’re presenting seven companies and two of them are local which is a really good mix.”
Ibrahimof, artistic director of Fall For Dance North in Toronto, has curated Off The EDGE since 2014. A prominent figure in the dance community, he established his own artist management company in 2004. While maintaining his company, he also transitioned into a dance curator.
When it comes to deciding what performers to present at Off The EDGE, Ibrahimof said, “I just try to think about what maybe Atlanta hasn’t seen yet, and also has seen. It’s just a balance of what is going to be new for that community.”
Gordon said it is important that Off The EDGE be not only be just a performance series, but a platform for education and relationships within the Atlanta dance community and worldwide.
2014 Off The Edge performer Vertigo Dance Company formed a partnership with local dance group Core Dance after they were able to work together during Vertigo’s time in Atlanta. Now, Core plans to head to Israel, where Vertigo is based, to work together in creating new work.
Off The EDGE presented a range of work designed to excite everyone from the most seasoned dance viewer to those who have never seen concert dance.
“I want to take the fear out of dance,” Gordon said. “People think that they’re not getting it. I want to say it’s nothing to get. You don’t have to get it. You just have to watch.”