By Bob Evans
The ultra serious topic of sex trafficking comes front and center as the Fringe Festival entry from VidaDance and Lucia Aerial combine their efforts in a stunning display of ballet and aerial skills at the Bolender Center.
“Rise” a carefully choreographed piece shows some of the stages of manipulation into the dangerous entrapment of young women into sex trafficking and the possible scenarios and even death that can result. The show begins with some carefree gatherings and summer fun until one targeted young lady captures the eye and attention of a handsome young man.
As their relationship begins, he grooms her, builds her trust, betrays her, and then begins selling her as part of his scheme. Young, alone, scared, and uneducated, such young women soo no escape and become continued victims of sexual abuse.
In this particular story, the victim does escape, returns home, and speaks out to tell others of her experience, hoping to shine light into the dark abyss she escaped. Solitude and silence cannot help others avoid this peril. Only enlightenment can save possible victims from this tragedy.
According to the Fringe website: “‘Rise” follows a young woman’s journey through darkness as she becomes entangled in the world of human trafficking. Dance and aerial art are combined in a spellbinding depiction of the secret, vile world, and what it will take to overcome it. ‘Rise’ is based on true stories and events as shared during collaboration with Kansas City anti-trafficking organizations.”
“Rise” gracefully tells the story through a combination of ballet and aerial performers. The staging and choreography is stunning and easy to follow. The story–truthful, harsh, real–takes the audience along and presents a story through dance that anyone can follow.
The cast is: Kirstie McDermott as Valerie; Ashley Taylor as Alina, Joseph Flickner as Jared, Samantha Jo Davis as Louisa. “Rise” dancers, aerialists and actors: Kelsey Aicher, Sophie Carpenter, Arthur Clifford, Gwynevere Deterling, Mallory Gittemeier, Mike Huerter, Rachel Johnson, Amanda Moder, Gwenyth O’Brien, Breanna Oppermann, Jessica Parra, Kelly Payton, Joseph Pilgram, Jami Robben, Elena Sherman, John Soloman, John Weaver.
Artistic director/choreographer, Lindsey Smith Dinneen; choreographer and rehearsal director, Krystal Bryan; concept director, Kevin Dinneen; lighting design/technical director, Daniel Parks.
Following each performance, “Rise” provides information by a speaker for information on human sex trafficking. Information for the show and the creation of the story line developed from collaboration among three groups and from personal accounts that led to this production. Those groups offering insight and assistance in creating “Rise” are: Exodus Cry, The Stop Trafficking Project, Veronica’s Voice. All groups can and will provide speakers and further information to illuminate the problem of human sex trafficking and work in the Kansas City Metro area.
VidaDancers: Krystal Bryan, Sophie Carpenter, Lindsey Dinneen, Joseph Flickner, Mallory Gittemeier, Rachel Johnson, Kirstie McDermott,
Amanda Moder, Breanna Oppermann, Joseph Pilgram, Jami Robben, Ashley Taylor, John Weaver. Kansas City Aerial Arts Performers/Choreography: Kelsey Aicher, Samantha Jo Davis, Gwenyth O’Brien, Kelly Payton, Elena Sherman; Props: Arthur Clifford, Shea Clifford, Mike Huerter, John Solomon; Costumes: Krystal Bryan, Kevin & Lindsey Dinneen, Daniel Parks.
Tags: KC Fringe Festival, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, “Rise”, Bolender Center