The two pieces by Island Moving Co. dancers that evening were Ant Umbra, a premiere by IMC’s new associate artistic director Spencer Gavin Hering, and a reprise of Colin Connor’s The Rose Garden (from 2004). The latter is set to 15th-century Spanish motets and canciones and spins off the Renaissance notion that falling in love was connected with the fall from Eden, that extreme passion felt like dying. In one part of the dance, fingers stretch out to pluck the fruits of love but clasped hands mimic a knife plunged mid-body, hari-kiri-like. Another section has a female dancer circled by four male dancers — quite threatening, quite menacing.
Ant Umbra also feels spooky, with plays on light and shadow. The title refers to the image in an eclipse when you see a ring of
light on the edges of the object casting the shadow. A recurring image here is hands over ears or mouths, one dancer sometimes covering another’s mouth. Unusual poses and steps abound — bobbing heads, flexed hands in front while hopping, a hand holding onto the instep of an extended leg while turning on the other foot. Hering is definitely creating new dance language.