Monday, April 15, 2024

Toledo’s Human Experience Modern Dance Company Educates, Brings Joy

The arts are as old as time; as old as any human civilization. From colorful woven garments to intricate cave paintings adorning long forgotten stone walls, to the creation of sonorous instruments made from bones, the spirit of creation has always been with us. And of course, we can’t forget the lingering artform still practiced and celebrated alongside all others, and in fact arguably the most celebrated: Dance. 

Specifically modern dance, which rose in popularity in the US and Europe in the late 19th century as a form of protest against the balletic and interpretative dance traditions which were popular during those times. Modern dance tends to be more theatrical in nature, separating it from the more rigid contemporaries of the era. Modern Dance relies more on abstract movements to portray whatever the dancer may be trying to convey through their feelings or artistic ideas. Modern dance also allows for a wider range of creative styles by the artist, giving them more flexibility. 

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It goes without saying that dance has managed to stick around with us and evolve alongside us over the centuries, culminating in a rich atmosphere of education and study as classic forms are passed down alongside new ideas to starry-eyed youngsters. And this is where studios like Toledo’s Human Experience (THE) Modern Dance Company come in, an avenue for young aspiring dancers to get their feet tapping. 

Founded in 2017 by friends Ashley Hill and Allie Batey, the mission was solely to help the public at large celebrate the extensive history of dance and its impact on us as a society.

“We thought that there was a market we weren’t serving, which were adults,” Batey said.

Allie Batey. Photo provided via THE Modern Dance Company’s website.

The human experience of dance is a big focus at the studio through artistic collaboration and outreach as a performance art. The whole idea isn’t just to focus on one style or era of dance, but all of them. Diversity is the name of the game and it can all be found here. This is the mission of the board who founded the company. 

All Toledo natives for over 30 years, their passion in the artform of dance can be felt through and through, passed down in the various classes and workshops they offer annually and seasonally. THE Modern Dance Company also partakes in various events throughout the year to promote the mission and showcase the talents of the performers, such as their most recent event, the Music Movement at the Myla Marcus Winery. 

The studio focuses hard on not only bringing the public the raw and emotional joy that can often be found in modern dance, it seeks to instruct its students on it, too. Modern dance is filled with as much discipline as its more confined counterparts, requiring physical and emotional conditioning for best results. But this type of training frees up the performers to better access their emotions during their time onstage. Unlike ballet, which, while graceful, is known for being rigid and fairly inflexible, modern dance relies on organic, fluid movements that best capture whatever the dancer is feeling. 

It’s a freedom of motion and movement, a testament to the human body’s ability to move and convey through artistic focus and ultimately, it’s this message of freedom and creativity that THE Modern Dance Company hopes to convey to all those fortunate enough to see them perform. 

“Come out and see us, come out and support us and come be a part of us,” Batey said.

Toledo’s Human Experience Modern Dance Company. Toledo School for the Arts, 7713, 333 14th St. # 4.

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