Recent Review: Marshall Elliott on Yelp

Yes, this is one of our hosted artists, and No, we didn’t pay him to write this.  Our community is excited about what we’re doing, and we’re not going argue with them…

In Denver’s recent frenzy of new large art institutions, it is helpful to remember that there has been a corresponding increase in the underground, and small-venue art scenes.  The Packing House is one of these, bringing an eclectic and much-needed experimental approach to dance and movement theater.

Although the space is rented out for private rehearsals and yoga programs and such, perhaps the best contribution of the PHCA is its innovative and provocative performances such as the “Dance Night for Beginners” (a humorous look at dance not by beginner dancers, but for beginner spectators), and the recent Halloween production of “Tomb/Abattoir”,  a shadowy piece of evocative power, blurring the lines between performer and spectator in an environment of piled leaves gauzy chambers, and suspended masked performers.  Far more interesting than your standard jump-out-from-behind-something scary gore show.

Who is the Packing House not good for?  Somebody who is interested in “pretty” dance, like the ballet or your garden-variety modern dance scene.  The PHCA and its residential performance “Control Group” are intested in pushing boundaries and exploring the edges of human movement.  Such experiments are not always easy to watch, but always leave me feeling as if I were part of something that is trying to address the present moment, instead of endlessly repeating the past.   And the reward for taking such risks are glimpses of true beauty.

Located in the warehouse district north of I-70, a visit to the Packing House makes you feel like you were leaving Manhattan to see a progressive new space in Brooklyn, before Brooklyn got big and pricy too.  So don’t wait until the greasy diner on the corner is converted into a Starbucks and the nearby warehouses have been filled with new lofts.  Get out the Packing House to see a group of artists committed to bending the rules and drawing you into a space of wonder and creative response to the world.

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