How do you take the food truck concept to an extreme? Why… make the truck a performance space, of course!

Atlanta is becoming a Mecca of experimental movement and Dance Truck made another splash in “The Movement” on June 28th at the Arts Exchange.  Their goal, “Bringing Dance to the People”.

Imagine a courtyard encircled by 6 trucks obviously each outfitted for a different purpose.  There was a food truck, an animation truck, performance spaces and an ambulance filled with a Willy Wonka-esque selection of delicious cakes.

The concept of Dance Truck was inspired, by co-founder Malina Rodriguez, to fulfill a need for alternative performance venues where space is either non-existent or to expensive for the artists use.

The evening’s work was as diverse as the trucks themselves and consisted of four pieces with a video installation interspersed during what would normally be intermission and a post show discussion.

First up was Urban Cutie, BEATRIX, a young performer who has fallen in love with the dance, and dance truck, culture in the city.  Partnered with choreographer Blake Beckham, they moved through Life Goes On: moments of boldness and separation. My own learning curve incomplete located way off to the side, I was only able to catch elbows and the top of heads until the work was positioned in the doorway.  What I saw was lovely and well executed for such a young performer.

Photo by Karley Sullivan. Choreographer Kala Seidenberg performs in a 26' Box Truck at Dance Truck Returns.

Mistake corrected, I squeezed in towards the center of the group and was able to enjoy The Day After Today, created and performed by Kala Seidenberg.  The stoic solo with repetitive, manipulated phrases was well designed and considerate of the audience’s experience. She used the confined space well keeping her choreography downstage so even the late comers could see.

An androgynous, Erik Thurmond, opened the second half in white with a platinum wig covering 360 degrees of his head.  InYANG he inspired images of a cool, teenaged Cousin It, clubbing in a futuristic flash forward.  The piece was mesmerizing and rave-like keeping his undulating  phrases in one spot.  Halfway through he yelled “Go” startling the audience and momentarily interrupting the trance.

The show ended with an Atlanta Premiere performance by tEEth. Musician Phillip Kraft and Choreographer Angelle Hebert both entered the space.  Their collaboration, lover villian victim, was exactly that, a joyous… gone angry… gone tragic tale illustrated through live music, amplified vocals and an emotionally charged blend of dance and theatrics.  By the end, the tiny truck was busting with picturesque energy reminiscent of a Peter Greenway film.

Photo by Karley Sullivan. Angelle Hebert and Phillip Kraft of tEEth premier a new performance for Dance Truck in Atlanta, Georgia.

Hooray for child friendly events.  Tiny humans under the age of 10 were FREE!  Spending money on Fancy Poodle Hot Dogs, Ginger Lemonade, Elvis Rice Crispy treats and having the tikes in tow is more valuable than paying a sitter and NOT exposing them to the rich culture Atlanta has to offer.

The irony of chasing art amongst parked vehicles was also not lost.  In fact, it played as big a role in the beauty and fun of the event.  This was my first Dance Truck event but it’s definitely not my last.