The Terpsichore Dance Company is bringing eight sequential dream experiences into the waking world.
It's a performance that investigates the dream state through dance and music, chasing the qualities of the oneironaut. The term refers to one who explores dreams.
The company's latest production, "Oneironauts" debuts on April 13, with a second showing set for the following day. The 70-minute production, which was choreographed by the company's director, will be staged at the Babcock Theater.
“The dancers go through their dreams and usually have some sort of catharsis at the end of the dream," said Ricki Feeley, director and choreographer of Terpsichore. "They’re changed forever from these dreams.”
Feeley said the idea for depicting dreams through dance began a year ago, when the company debuted “Hiraeth,” which explored women's relationship with nature. The conversation shifted to nature appearing in dreams and, finally, the possibility of depicting dreams themselves.
Feeley began drafting the dances, and it became the company's collective project.
“It evolved from little bits of pieces of choreography coming together to long sequences of choreography,” said Kristie Martin, a dancer who has been with Terpsichore since its beginnings in 2010.
The project evolved through months of workshopping. Early on, they included props to aid in the literal depiction of sleeping and dreaming. Ultimately, Feeley dropped most of the props to focus on the movements, the colors and the music.
Feeley said it added more to the overall experience.
“I just wanted to make sure that we were creating art from a perspective of it being new and not relying on these visual tools to lead the audience,” she said.
She worked to iron out the transitions between multiple dreams — each sequence bathed in its own color. The lighting is carefully set throughout. She carefully chose music that would carry the story and complement the ebbs and flows of the visual elements.
The music, Feeley said, is part of the story as well.
While the dancers worked on the production together, Martin said that Feeley's vision was the driving force.
“She’s very creative," Martin said of Feeley. "And we just are along for the ride sometimes.”
The finished performance features eight dream sequences. Among the experiences is a lucid dream, a prophetic dream, a nightmare and a false awakening, among others. At the beginning and end of the performance, all the dancers transition in and out of the dream state together.
Looking back on months of preparation and practice, Feeley said that it has been a long road to get to showtime. She said that things came together thanks to her company dancers, who supported and worked on bringing her choreography to fruition.
“I'm very lucky to have these women in my life," she said, "and that they trust me.”