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Chaddick Dance Theater Explores The Subconscious With 'Beneath The Mind'

“It’s actually going to be a quite dynamic night,” says Cheryl Chaddick, the founder of Chaddick Dance Theater, about their upcoming winter showcase performance, Beneath the Mind. “We have three pieces, and one is a nightmare, one is a dream, and one is a memory of a life spent in marriage.”

That memory piece is choreographed by Chaddick and based on her own marriage.  “I lost my husband last year, and so I was just thinking about all the stages of when we started dating and how we behaved and then in the middle of the marriage and then the last part of the marriage,” she says. “So it’s a lot of reflection on that, and just the arc of that experience.”

In that piece, titled “Echoes,” Angel Benz dances as a character based on Chaddick. “[In] a lot of Cheryl’s work… she has us bring our own experiences into it, so it’s not necessarily like ‘you are Cheryl Chaddick and you are Eric.’ It’s more like this essence of when Cheryl was going through this time of her life, this is the type of thing that she went through, and also drawing on my own experiences.”

“Angela actually is… [portraying] the early years with me and Eric,” Chaddick says.  “And he was very serious and I was very silly. So he was kind of in awe a lot of the time when we were dating because he didn’t know what I was doing. And so it was a lot of playing, it was a lot playfulness. He wasn’t used to the word ‘play.’ He didn’t know how to play and I knew how to play and I only wanted to play. And [Benz] does that part really, really well. She’s an actress as well as a dancer.”

“You have to be to do Cheryl’s work, to be honest,” Benz says. “That’s why it’s Chaddick Dance Theater.”

Beneath the Mind also includes two other dances – “The Dream,” choreographed by Bonnie Hossack and “Corpse-dancer,” choreographed by Cameron Oefinger. Hossack is an old friend of Chaddick’s from her days working in San Francisco. “We were together a long time. We just did dance the whole time we were in San Francisco,” Haddick says. “Her work is complimentary to me because her work is very different. Hers is a gentler approach. She creates environments, so it has a magical quality to it, while mine’s more real life. So I think that they work really well together on a program, because they’re not similar at all.”

Benz, who is dancing in “Echoes” and “The Dream,” agrees. “I’ve been dancing with Cheryl for a little over four years now,” she says. “And so to have a guest choreographer come in and put a different work on you, it’s almost like a foreign language.”

The third piece, “Corpse-dancer,” is yet another departure. The two-person dance is inspired by the feeling of watching a horror film. The connective tissue between the three pieces, Chaddick says, is that they’re all about different ways our minds interpret the world. “It’s interesting, because to me it’s a lot about the subconscious or unconscious,” She says. “It seems to be a lot about what goes on in our heads without it being right in front of our faces.”

'Beneath the Mind' will be performed at 8:00 pm on Saturday, February 23 and 7:00 pm on Sunday, February 24 at Austin Ventures Studio Theater.

Mike is the production director at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces Arts Eclectic, Get Involved, and the Sonic ID project, and also produces videos and cartoons for When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.
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