An Evening of Eccentricity
The macabre sketches of Edward Gorey dance off the page this weekend in Terpsicorps’ contemporary ballet concert The Many Deaths of Edward Gorey, and Other Moments of Eccentricity
By Rebekah Hildebrandt
“I’ve been an Edward Gorey fan since high school,” says Heather Maloy, artistic director of Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance in Asheville. In her choreography, she finds herself naturally drawn to create pieces with either a bold sense of humor or a dark outlook. The 20th century illustrator Edward Gorey reveals a similar fascination with dark comedy in his pen and ink drawings of ominous, yet humorous, scenes of Edwardian England. Maloy’s attraction to Gorey’s work led her to choreograph and design “The Many Deaths of Edward Gorey” for Terpsicorps five years ago, capturing the Gorey style in sets, costumes, and movement. This weekend, Maloy and Terpsicorps dancers are revisiting “Gorey” with a new manifestation of the piece, now twice as long and including four new characters. You can catch the act, The Many Deaths of Edward Gorey, and Other Moments of Eccentricity, this Thursday through Saturday at Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville.
In addition to Maloy's latest presentation of the Gorey-inspired ballet, three extra performances complete the program, taking the audience beyond the macabre, but not away from the unique. After “Gorey,” two dancers will premiere “Calm,” a pas de deux choreographed by Maloy, depicting the calming effect of having someone you love in your life, which was inspired by her relationship with her fiancé. Next on the program is audience favorite “Couch Potatoes,” which Maloy describes as a tongue-in-cheek love affair between three characters and a couch. The show will close with the premiere of “Half Past Never” by Terpsicorps' new ballet master, Christopher Bandy. His piece is a great show closer, Maloy says, being both fun and flashy.
Terpsicorps’ dancers travel from across the continent to Asheville, brought together by the common curse of the dance world: summer unemployment. Dance companies largely shut down during the summer, leaving their dancers without work until the season begins again in the fall. In 2003, Maloy took advantage of this ailment by starting a summer company.
This year, Terpsicorps is comprised of eight dancers from renowned companies such as BalletMet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal. They live in Asheville from June to mid-August, performing their concert of darkness, laughter, and light. The performance runs only three days in Asheville and three in Winston-Salem. This Thursday night, toast these talented artists following the opening night, as the dancers mingle with audience members during a gala held at Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar—a sparkling ending to a shining night.
The Many Deaths of Edward Gorey
and Other Moments of Eccentricity
June 28-30, 8 p.m.
Diana Wortham Theatre
2 S. Pack Square, Asheville
$30, $28 seniors, $25 students,
$12-$20 children, opening night gala $75
(828) 257-4530; www.dwtheatre.com