​DCDC to offer ‘HeartShakes’ premiere at Victoria

Routines explore variety of relationships.

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company presents the world premiere of Kiesha Lalama’s compelling, flavorful “HeartShakes” on Saturday at the Victoria Theatre.

A dance theater production fueled by the music of Grammy Award-nominated rock band Alabama Shakes, “HeartShakes” chronicles five couples in a different stage of a relationship. The work weaves a relatable emotional tapestry as it conveys connection through joy, humor, expectancy, hurt, yearning and reunion.

“The theme of the show is that you search your entire life to find the one person who has the courage to stand with you,” said the Pittsburgh-based Lalama, who serves as education director for the Pittsburgh CLO and is also an associate professor of dance at Point Park University. “People break your heart for certain reasons. People are in a place of waiting for a reason. Every relationship goes through those phases. What I did was think about one relationship that has gone through those phases and ultimately broke it down among five couples.”

Lalama has created more than 40 routines for various dance and theater companies across the country, including Ballet Arkansas, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago and Houston Metropolitan Dance Company.

“I like creating dances that an audience can relate to,” she said. “I want the characters and story to resonate. I want an audience to feel good, entertained and rewarded.”

Alabama Shakes’ critically acclaimed 2012 CD “Boys and Girls” serves as the musical inspiration and catalyst for “HeartShakes.” After hearing such numbers as “Hold On” and “I Found You” performed by lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard, Lalama said that she immediately felt multiple story lines could be shaped with depth and meaning.

In addition to working on the National High School Musical Theater Awards (particularly showcased in the terrific PBS series “Broadway or Bust”) and choreographing the 2013 film “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” Lalama is the first choreographer chosen by DCDC to present an entire evening of work. “HeartShakes” rehearsals began last summer, but Lalama continued to tweak the show in recent months with conceptual assistance from the company.

Contact this contributing writer at rflorence2@gmail.com.