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Dancers dripping with energy - and chocolate - will perform at the world premiere of Aphrodite Dances: Chocolate, this Saturday at Chocolat in downtown Fredericksburg.
See event photos at Facebook.

Aphrodite Dances: Chocolate will be held Saturday, Sept 24, at 7 pm at Chocolat, 255 West Main St. in Fredericksburg, TX. Tickets can be purchased online at www.voicedancecompany.org. Information also on Facebook at http://facebook.com/voicedance and Twitter at http://twitter.com/voicedance.


webmaster: phil@fullhouseproductions.net

Dances with chocolate

by Phil Houseal
Sept 21, 2011


Chocolate. Dance.

What could you cook up when you combine those two ingredients?

No one is really certain. But you can be the first to find out this Saturday at Chocolat in downtown Fredericksburg, site of the world premiere of Aphrodite Dances: Chocolate.

“First of all, you’ll see some fabulous dancers,” explained Gina Patterson, co-founder of VOICE Dance Company, and award-winning dancer, teacher, coach, and choreographer. “Then, I don’t know many people who don’t like chocolate. It is very powerful.”

So how will they mix world-class performers and the dark, delicious, ambrosia of the gods? Will they be dipped? Swirled? Tasted?

The official description includes phrases such as “integration of chocolate and dance,” and “merging dance and the culinary arts.”

“You taste, feel, and smell these things while you watch dance happen, integrating all the senses to give you a fuller experience,” said Eric Midgely, co-founder of VOICE, dancer, designer, and musician. “That integration is what we are exploring with this project.”

“This project” is Aphrodite Dances, a series of boutique performances that merge dance and the culinary arts. The concept began taking shape at the Interlochen School of the Arts last year.

“Dance is a visceral experience,” Patterson explained. “Seeing dance while hearing music is so powerful to me - it can transport the soul. In some cultures dance is as necessary a part of life as food and drink. So we started thinking about food as a sensory thing, as a way to transport the soul.”

The question then becomes: How do you heighten the dance experience? How does food effect how you experience the evening?

“I find it curious how smell connects you to people, and brings you back in time to a place and a memory. Art has so many parallels with food, that mixing them is a way to come together in one moment and have an experience together.”

As Midgley and Patterson continued brainstorming their performance menu, they thought - what better food to start with than chocolate?

“There is so much richness in the history of chocolate,” Patterson said. “It goes back to the Mayans, is entwined in folklore and music, it became a currency, and was once reserved only for gods and goddesses, kings and queens.”

So Patterson turned to a friend, Lecia Duke, owner of Quintessential Chocolates in Fredericksburg, the sole American producer of the fine European chocolate confectionary process known as liquid center chocolates.

Duke was immediately receptive. “Gina called me and said, ‘I have this idea about chocolate I want to talk about,’” Duke said. “I told her if you want to see, taste, and smell chocolate, get over here. It mushroomed from there.”

The result is the debut of the first of the Aphrodite Dances. Eight dancers - including five from Compania de Danza Siglo 21 in Puerto Rico - will gather in the open indoor space at Main and Orange during the day to work through the logistics of dancing with chocolate - how does it work putting it on dancers, does it drip or melt, how thick does it need to be applied to be visually impactful?

That evening, the audience will be let in to observe - and become part of - the one-hour performance. The show will unfold with tastings, a history of chocolate, dance, music, and audience interaction. The show will then be presented in Austin on September 28 and in San Angelo on September 30-October 1.

Patterson cannot conceal her enthusiasm for the process as well as the product.

“When you walk into that chocolate shop, you are immersed in it,” she said. “It will be impromptu. We’ll be using art to stimulate dialogue and start conversations, then see where that leads. If nothing else, it will be a great experience, and a great time, especially in Fredericksburg.”

Patterson is looking forward to a “beautiful exchange” with the community, with the possibility of holding future performances of the series here.

“For us, it’s a great way to share what we do with the community, to bless that space,” she said. “This is about turning off the cell phones and bringing us together in the moment. If you are smelling chocolate, hopefully you are not thinking of 10 million other things.”

Chocolate and dance.

What else could you possibly be thinking about?