The seventh and final repertory program from Seattle Dance Project ended with a moving piece of local dance history. Wade Madsen, a fixture in the Seattle contemporary dance scene since 1977, took the stage in his new work “Want” as one of a dozen guest artists, representing many decades of dance. To nostalgic recordings — Johnny Mathis, Jack Jones — they danced, with their arms and their posture and their presence, reminding us that movement is a lifetime joy.
Project 7, performed through Sunday, serves as a bittersweet goodbye. Artistic director Timothy Lynch writes in a program note that he is leaving Seattle to take a position at BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio, and that this will be SDP’s final season. (The number of empty seats on opening night was a sad reminder of what a struggle it can be to run a small dance company, even one as accomplished as this.) But the troupe is going out on a high note, with Madsen’s unique blend of quirky lyricism bringing down the curtain.
“Want” plays with the idea of desire, beginning with a prologue in which two dancers are transformed by donning elegant shoes, preening before an invisible mirror. Later, an ensemble of seven company members dances together, both fluidly and abruptly, reaching out to each other and to nothing. Alexandra Dickson and guest artist Joshua Grant performed a fierce, sexy pas de deux; they seemed, briefly, to become one, consumed in each other. A spoken-word section, mid-dance, felt unnecessarily literal; this dance, and dancers, spoke clearly in silence.
The evening’s other two works were both duets for two men, but quite different in mood. Amy O’Neal’s “Dessa Suites,” in which Lynch and Chris Montoya danced first side-by-side and then as interwoven partners, was pleasant to watch but didn’t seem to build to a resolution. Lynch was a quicksilver standout, though; particularly in a moment when he seemed to be chasing his own hands.
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Iyun Ashani Harrison’s melancholy, haunting “The Leaves are Falling,” set to a Philip Glass score that conveyed a sense of urgent waiting, had Harrison and Ezra Dickinson beginning the dance in two separate circles of light. (The evening’s fine lighting design was from Meg Fox.) As they gradually came to move together, you sensed the history of these men, in their diving lifts and lingering pirouettes; this was a story coming to an end.
The evening also included a short video tribute to founding SDP member Kory Perigo, who died recently and to whom the season is dedicated.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org