By Byron Woods
In its first ever self-produced showcase in Durham, the NC Dance Festival took several legitimate steps toward embracing a growing community of independent, professional dance artists from across the state, a population it hasn’t always known what to do with. But with only sixty people in attendance—a fraction of the audiences Durham Independent Dance Artists and others have summoned in recent years—few witnesses observed these needed innovations on a drizzly Thursday night.
Terpsichorean in-jokes rippled through Welcome, Rachel Barker’s sharp-toothed tribute to presence and vulnerability in modern dance. After Barker’s trio spiraled through an absurd competition to somehow be the artist most present on stage, Sarah Ingel voiced what countless dancers have never had the agency to say to an audience: “No … you’re the strange ones, sitting this close. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I have a degree in this.”
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