Chamber Dance Project: Poetry, Feathers and Gatsby [REVIEW]

Chamber Dance Project
American University’s Greenburg Theatre
Washington, DC

June 16, 2022
Grace, Grandeur & Gatsby Program: PrufrockGravity to Grace (world premiere), Four Men (excerpt), Dwellings, Extremely Close (excerpt), Gatsby (world premiere)

Steve Sucato for

While always something to look forward to each summer for greater Washington, DC area audiences, it is almost criminal to have to wait so long between mainstage productions by Diane Coburn Bruning’s Chamber Dance Project (CDP). The project-based company, made up of an enviable line-up of star dancers from other dance companies around the country including Boston Ballet, BalletMet and Milwaukee Ballet, as well as several equally brilliant freelance dancers, presented its latest eclectic dance program, Grace, Grandeur & Gatsby, June 16 – 19 at American University’s Greenberg Theatre in Washington, DC.

In a city spoiled with great dance from The Washington Ballet and from all over the planet presented at The Kennedy Center, Chamber Dance Project adds to that embarrassment of riches with its own brand of world-class dance and live music. That was once again on display opening night, June 16 as the company’s ten dancers and six musicians presented a program packed with two world-premieres, four repertory works and several music-only performances by CDP’s String Quartet.

Kicking off the evening was the return of the Bruning choreographed Prufrock (2019). Co-created with theater director Matt Torney and set to an original electronic sound score by James Bigbee Garver, Prufrock is among Bruning’s and CDP’s finest works. Inspired by, and danced to, Torney reciting (in his Irish accent) T.S. Eliot’s 1915 poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” the work unfolded like a surreal graphic novel with a look to match and fused with a Matthew Bourne dance play. The cast of five, costumed in black men’s suits, ties, and bowler hats, were all mired in this dark, shadowy, often slow-motion world that faded in and out of view as pools of spotlight went from light to dark and back again.


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