Doug Elkins is looking for that weird moment, the uncomfortable that makes you think twice.
“The screw up can be more interesting than the actual phrase,” Mr. Elkins said outside of the Yard theatre in Chilmark this week.
On Thursday night at 8 p.m. Doug Elkins Choreography, etc. performs two original works created at the Yard, Mo(or)town/Redux and Hapless Bizarre. A special benefit performance will take place Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. These will be Mr. Elkins final performances of a three year residency at the Yard.
Mr. Elkins time on the Island has been highlighted by his parody of the Sound of Music, Fraulein Maria. To sold out crowds, Mr. Elkins and his company set a new tone, marrying dance, theatre and comedy. This year it’s smart, sophisticated and funny vaudeville.
In Mo(or)town/Redux, Mr. Elkins takes on modern choreographer Jose Limon’s Moor’s Pavane, a ballet based on Shakespeare’s Othello. In Limon’s arguably most famous work, death and jealousy are explored through the pavane, a traditional court dance.
Enter the Temptations.
“I was watching a version of the Temptations’s My Girl on YouTube, and had been working on a production of Othello,” explained Mr. Elkins. “And then I saw My Girl and caught a glimpse of Moor’s Pavane and thought My Girl could be considered a court dance.”
So he decided to merge the two ideas.
“What happens when you play with a Motown vocabulary and have it be in discussion with Limon’s ideas?” Mr. Elkins said. “It’s the same as someone doing a mashup on Youtube — how do they inform each other and bounce off?”
Hapless Bizarre includes material from Mark Gindick, head clown for the Big Apple Circus, and “part of it is a lighter deconstructed idea of romanticism.”
“We’re bringing ideas about theatre and movement together,” he said. “It’s like a ven diagram — we start moving to each others borders and see how these ideas synthesize.”
As Mr. Elkins leaves, a new residency at the Yard begins. Camille A. Brown and Dancers have signed on to work with the Yard for the next three years.
Mr. Elkins said his time at the Yard has been invaluable. “How often do you get to have a room of one’s own to make dance?”
Tickets to the performance on Thursday night are $25 and available at dancetheyard.org. Tickets for the special benefit concert are $75. Call 508-645-9662.