Mark Stuart Dance Theatre (MSDT), held court on Thursday and Friday at the New 42nd Street Studios with the electrifying premiere performance of STANDARD TIME, before an audience of potential supporters. Orchestrating this first showing was Broadway producer Richard Winkler (Memphis, Nice Work) and award winning director/choreographer, Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots). Both men sit on the board of directors of MSDT.
Winkler and Mitchell have long admired Executive Artistic Director Mark Stuart’s work and were especially intrigued by his inspiration for STANDARD TIME, which he says, came from the divisive and often irrational nature of conversations we hear in politics and culture today. “I was compelled to ask – Why is it so difficult for us to learn from past mistakes?” And this is the fundamental question at the heart of the piece.
Conflict - its origins, its influence, and its impact is explored through three separate movements. Each movement takes place during intervals of time in the 20th century, leading to the present. During successive periods of time, couples meet and fall in love, but their love is threatened by prevailing social conflicts. The stories use a rich mix of period music to evoke a sense of time and place. Against the backdrop of the jazz, b-bop, rock & roll, and pop culture eras, three stories of love and prejudice are played out.
Mark Stuart, an award-winning choreographer, founder of MSDT, has been working toward this moment since deciding to focus his attention on developing a dance theatre company to infuse with his vision and choreographic sensibility. Critics across the country have quickly taken notice of this dance theatre company calling their performances “breathtaking”, “sensual, intense, dramatic, and athletic.” Mark’s choreography has been praised as “a work of art”, “seamless and thrilling”.
With every appearance they make, they push the limits of movement further with precision and a sense of sheer abandon. Thedancers who comprise MSDT have honed their artistic skills performing with internationally renowned companies (Parsons Dance, Momix, Pilobolus) and on hit Broadway shows.
STANDARD TIME is a 90-minute, thought-provoking production – a work that transports us through several decades of social conflict using the power of music and movement and begs the question – “Will mankind ever learn to live in peace?”