KEIGWIN + COMPANY ramped it up from "well that's lovely" to "oh my" at Spoleto Festival USA this summer.

Keigwin+Company © Matthew Murphy
Keigwin+Company
© Matthew Murphy

Their opening piece, Canvas, was a summery time-lapse photo of breezy friends and lovers. It is very much like real life, except cleaner and with better music. It is the Gap ad, if you will, of founder, choreographer and artistic director Larry Keigwin’s program. It was… lovely.

Seven kicked it up a little, with more focus on shape than narrative; and then Megalopolis, which had all the shimmer, strut and bassline grind of the urban club scene, took it over the top. By the end of Megalopolis, the audience was ready to join them for a night out.

Keigwin+Company © Christopher Duggan
Keigwin+Company
© Christopher Duggan

In Love Songs, three couples did six duets, with music by the likes of Roy Orbison, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and others. There were break up songs and make up songs, in which the women more than held their own and were quite capable of lifting and carrying their partners, thank you. These Love Songs had humor, athleticism and a few good stories in them.

Keigwin+Company © Matthew Murphy
Keigwin+Company
© Matthew Murphy

Finally, there was the fashion show, Runaway. Women in giant beehive-topped wigs and bright mini-dresses, and men in dark suits and skinny ties walked the runway, posed, and were carried around like mannequins. One reclining woman was dragged by her hand across the stage, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

And then they got undressed. Some stripped to undergarments, others just went pantsless. It was absurd and mildly disconcerting, yet oddly familiar. What could be familiar about a man in jacket and tie walking a runway in his jockeys? Plenty. “Runaway” is rife with Keigwin’s nods to high fashion. The choreography was just as outlandish as some of the things we see in fashion photoshoots – and that’s saying something.

Keigwin+Company © Christopher Duggan
Keigwin+Company
© Christopher Duggan

If Canvas was Gap, Runaway is Versace. Bizarre, but completely normal in our world of iconic fashion photography.

It was a nice gamut to run. In the end, KEIGWIN + COMPANY is a company of amazing dancers that isn’t afraid to be entertaining.




***11