by Eden Holt, Contributing writer
The latest performers to grace the Herter Park Amphitheater stage were the story telling movement company, ParadiseMoves. Boston based, this is a group of talented dancers and story tellers interested in having a conversation, and know exactly how to get that conversation started. To beautifully composed original music and choreography, ParadiseMoves urges us, in their piece called Enough, to think more broadly, more compassionately, about gender, mental illness, and friendship.
Focused on the formative high school years, Enough tells the story of Noah, a young student grappling with his sexuality, identity, and mental illness. Supported by a cast of wonderful dancers, Noah discovers the value of relationships, explores his inner voices, and is quite literally saved from himself.
ParadiseMoves started when two Emerson college artists Tyler Catanella, now Artistic Director, and Shannon Sweeny, now Executive Director, saw a gap in the dance company space. Their passion for a narrative that can spark a conversation, and their fascination with people and the human connection, sparked what has since evolved to become ParadiseMoves.
Performed primarily in community centers, schools, and at local events, Enough is here to shine a light on experiences that we can all relate to.
The subject matter is complex but true to their name; ParadiseMoves create an environment to have a conversation. Jana Jacobson, the company’s Program Director, is known for saying that the audience should feel first and think later. True to that axiom, Jacobson guides a quick but potent facilitated conversation with the entire audience and cast to help us unpack what we saw, heard, and most importantly felt.
To top it all off, the entire company is creating this gem during their free time. These artists chose to spend nights and weekends on creating a meaningful experience and are focused on creating a space for us in the audience to feel, think, and share. This is also a good reminder that this company is a young non-profit that is focused on growing as an organization while delving into the subjects that most skirt around. Not afraid of asking the tough questions, this group of seekers insist on having meaningful interactions and probing something deeper through dance, original music, and conversation.
ParadiseMoves’ message is to participate. Participate in your community, participate in your perception, in your family, your friends, and in art. Find your voice and use it in the best way possible. We are all looking for connection and through diversity, conversation, strength, inner truth, and all the while being delightfully strange, we can make our communities and this world a better place.
When asked what’s next, Sweeny says that the sky is the limit. There are a few other subjects and pieces that the company would love to explore, and with support from local communities and organizations, we will surely see more formative story telling from ParadiseMoves in the near future.