Body language speaks in a way more primitive, more intuitive, and more truthful than words can achieve.

Dancer and choreographer Robert Moses of Robert Moses’ KIN dance company in San Francisco, credits the body as the most communicative device humans have. For Moses, dance is the perfect medium to begin, to challenge, and to pursue a conversation.

“Dance is, first, visceral,” said Moses. “With a touch or a glance, we understand what the behavior is saying to each other. We understand with our bodies, and we understand or have something to say, we want to move.”

Moses’s voice transmitted through the cell phone in soft velvet tones but with deliberate cadence. His choreography on the stage speaks with bold passion as he blends athletic and graceful body movements with narration, music, and costuming. His work, “NEVABAWARLDAPECE,” makes assertions and poses questions about human struggles and challenges the audience to consider if there will “never be a world of peace.”

RMK will perform the 8-section dance composition as part of the Bates Dance Festival, on July 31 and Aug. 1. Each section explores a different situation that challenges the human spirit to keep going – if it can. The musical score shifts through a variety of music such as blues and bluegrass, as well as the spoken word.

“It’s about that moment when you’re as low as you can go, you’re about to give up, or you do give up,” said Moses. “Or maybe it’s about when the ideas that you had changed or you’ve lost faith in your leaders. These can be moments in social or political movements or they can be in our own personal lives.”

Festival Director Laura Faure described Moses’ body of work as often dealing with social and cultural issues, particularly those concerning African-Americans.

“Given what’s going on in our society right now, this work is really timely and meaningful,” said Faure. “This work is a driving, intense piece. It deals with big subjects.”

As an artist in residence and member of the dance faculty at Stanford University, Moses wants his students to understand that dance allows humans to express, to state, to question, and to move ideas around. They can be big ideas, but dance doesn’t have to be about strange, abstract ideas.

Moses entered the dancing world in a very concrete and practical way. He recalled being in high school when the archery section of gym class was canceled. He was left with the options of football, volleyball, and dance. Being of slight build, he wanted to avoid being pounded in football. And he had no interest in volleyball, leaving him with dance.

“That was my very first class,” said Moses. “I loved it right away.”

Moses has since garnered accolades and awards, formed his own dance company, choreographed for a variety of productions, and now teaches classes of his own. RMK will spend three weeks at Bates before touring in Canada, Vietnam, and Congo.

“Bates is kind of our East Coast home,” said Moses. “People there are always so warm and accommodating. And it’s not like we have to rush off to the next place after a performance. People can stick around and talk about these issues or ask about what we were trying to say.”

For most Festival performances, there is a free “Show and Tell” session with the artists scheduled the preceding Tuesday. The festival, which began on July 1 with the opening of a dance photo exhibit by Peaks Island photographer Arthur Fink, continues until the Finale performance on Aug. 8.

Other performances include Delfos Danza Contempranea, a leading contemporary dance company from Mexico, that dazzles audience with exotic, provocative, and evocative costuming and exquisitely choreographed movements. The company’s piece, “Cuando los Disfraces se Cuelgan,” translated into English as “When the Disguises are Hung Up” tells the universal story of discovering the truth about ourselves. Seven dancers take the audience through a self-reflection process that blends movement, video, computer animation, and music. Delfos will take the stage at Schaeffer Theater on July 24 and 25.

“This is really an exceptional company from Mexico,” said Faure. “Their work is a reflection of their culture — a contemporary culture. It’s very animated.”

DanceNOW gives its second performance this evening and features an eclectic menu of works from Festival faculty and alumni. Hip hop, modern dance, post-modern dance, and jazz theater combine for a full evening’s show.

Sean Dorsey Dance, formed by transgender artist Sean Dorsey of San Francisco, will perform “The Missing Generation,” on July 16 and 18. Dorsey converts his lengthy research and personal interviews about the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s into a heart-breaking and heart-warming stage performance through a multi-movement dance work.

The always popular “Musicians’ Concert” spotlights artists who give the visual dance that complementary audio sensation. The performance on Aug. 4 at the Franco Center will feature multi-instrumentalists Jesse Manno, Terrence Karn, and Shamou who share the sounds of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Also taking the stage will be composers and pianists Peter Jones, Mike Vargas, and Carl Landa, as well as electronic music creator Albert Mathias and violin prodigy Rob Flax.

The Festival continues with Different Voices on Aug. 6. and Aug. 7. A truly graceful, athletic, and powerful testament to the artistry of the human body, this work integrates jazz, fusion, and percussion for a riveting performance.

The Festival Finale, performed in the Alumni Gymnasium on Aug. 8, brings the 6-week celebration of dance, the human spirit, and the stories of our time to a close. New works by visiting faculty and performances by student dancers offer a reflection of the work that was created this summer and a glimpse into the dance that is to come.


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