HARTFORD, CT – The popular sayings, “what’s old is new” and “good things come to those who wait” are certainly proving true for Connecticut residents on November 5-7 when the Sonia Plumb Dance Company (SPDC) raises the curtains at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts auditorium to perform Penelope’s Odyssey. The highly anticipated, in-person production was set to premiere last October but was forced to “take five” due to the pandemic. Now, with the perseverance of SPDC Founder and Artistic Director Sonia Plumb and the generous support of dance aficionados across the state, the critically-acclaimed contemporary dance company announced on September 14 that the show must go on, especially as it portrays a powerful story of survival in today’s challenged world.
“Surely, the performing arts sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, but during this time of isolation, we never lost sight of our underlying mission to connect humanity through dance,” said Plumb, who choreographed the entire production. “Our organization has always reached beyond the arts community with a diverse repertoire that often reflects upon larger societal issues and this performance is no different.”
Specifically, Plumb notes that during this historic moment of women’s voices and growth, Penelope’s Odyssey tells the story of Penelope and the women from Homer’s Odyssey, the classic epic poem. In this contemporary interpretation, the dancers focus on gender roles and societal norms as seen through the lens of time by weaving in topics of romance, betrayal, single motherhood, arranged marriage, war and perseverance. It is a story of a woman taking control of her life in a man’s world.
The performance opens with "Penelope's Home Video"- filmed on the island of Crete in August 2021. "Penelope's Home Video" is a compilation of her memories before her husband, Odysseus, left for war.
"The video takes on a distorted reality, much like we all have in a way during this time of isolation from loved ones," said Plumb. “Life is truly imitating art and history is indeed repeating itself with the profound themes prevalent in this performance. The audience take-away? Women’s voices, men listening, equilibrium.”
Tickets are $45 general admission; $40 seniors, active military and Veterans; $25 students and can be pre-ordered online: shorturl.at/gimC6 or purchased at the venue.
The performance schedule is Friday, November 5, 8 PM; Saturday, November 6, 7:30 PM; and Sunday, November 7, 2:30 PM.
All performances will be held at the Theater of the Performing Arts, Main Stage, 359 Washington Street in Hartford.
Due to COVID restrictions and social distancing requirements, only 300 seats will be sold at each performance. To ensure the safety of its performers and staff, audiences will be required to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID PCR tests and masks are required.
In addition, audiences are invited to engage in an exciting learning process in a variety of formats both in person and virtual including: streaming of pre-recorded webinars – “Women’s Voices Then and Now” with professor Lauren Caldwell (UMass Amherst), “The Odyssey – Hero, Host, God or Goddess” with professor Vincent Tomasso (Trinity College), open rehearsals and talk backs with the artistic team, and Study Guides in both English and Spanish.
Presenting sponsors include the CT Humanities Council, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Edward C and Ann T Roberts Foundation, and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development – Office of the Arts. Corporate and individual sponsorships range from $500 to $10,000 and are available by phone: 860-214-0284 or email: [email protected].
As a non-profit performing arts organization, SPDC relies upon the generous donations of the community to help sustain it. Donations can be made online: https://soniaplumbdance.org/support/.
“Whether you’re a dance lover or a community member simply seeking a stimulating, social experience out of the house, Penelope’s Odyssey will be the must-attend fall event of the season,” concluded Plumb.
To see a behind-the-scenes, sneak peek of the production, follow Sonia Plumb Dance Company on its social media sites
More information is available online: https://soniaplumbdance.org/event/penelopes-odyssey/2021-11-05/.
About Sonia Plumb Dance Company
Since 1990, Sonia Plumb Dance Company has been exciting audiences with contemporary modern dance performances that boast stunning visuals, vivid choreography, and compelling storytelling. Its global collaborations with musicians, composers, videographers, poets, professors and puppeteers have engaged thousands of audiences both young and old alike. From the main stage to the school classroom to the public park, the critically acclaimed, contemporary dance company is known for its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion – making the art of dance available and accessible to all.
Founded and led by lifelong dancer and Artistic Director Sonia Plumb, SPDC offers dance instruction classes, professional apprenticeships, arts integration programs, and community outreach that serves more than 8,000 constituents throughout the Northeast and connects humanity through the world of dance.