Maine’s newest dance troupe, the Bath-based YES Dance Theatre Ensemble, presents its inaugural performances this month in Camden and Portland. The six members will perform “Motionally Available” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Camden Library Amphitheater; and at 6:30 p.m. July 21-24 and 4 p.m. July 25 at Fort Allen Park on the Eastern Promenade in Portland.

The hands and faces of the Bath-based YES Dance Theatre Ensemble. Courtesy of YES Dance Theatre Ensemble

Tickets cost $20.

YES evolved from the pandemic, said Michaela Knox, a Maine-based choreographer who helped launch the company and holds the title of artistic director.

“We just formed our organization in January. It began as a collaboration with other performing artists, a small group of us who were just hungry to create new work again,” she said. “The name YES came from our intention to say ‘yes’ to ourselves and our own impulse to create work, and ‘yes’ to each other. We just decided to say, ‘Yes, let’s try that.'”

The ensemble includes performers with backgrounds in dance and others with specialties in theater. They’re all versed in improvisation. Knox described the dance-theater genre as a hybrid of dance and theater that involves saying something with your body through movement that you cannot say in words.

“Motionally Available” will include eight pieces, or vignettes, and some will involve verbal communication through speaking and singing. “There is some original music, some theatrical elements and a lot of dance, all done to encourage contemplation, conversation and interpretation,” Knox said. “I think every person will have a different interpretation of what they see. It’s funny, evocative, eerie, spooky, and there are some heartfelt emotional truths that show up also.”

The program will last about two hours, with an intermission. In addition to Knox, the ensemble includes Andrew Elijah Edwards, Elise Voigt, Kathy V. Hodges, David Vitanza and Sharoan Cohen.

Knox senses urgency in all the work. Artists are exploding with ideas and energy, she said.

“We are coming out of a really dark period when a lot of people were isolated and not able to connect with one another. That prompted time to reflect and to ask, ‘What do I want to create?’ I am feeling a sense of, ‘If not now, when? Let’s make it now. Let’s not hold back anymore.’ We are starting to see a surge of creative work.”

For information about the company, visit yesyouarethatgood.org. For tickets to the performance, visit yesdancetheatre.ticketleap.com.


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