Arts Desk

Smooth Moves: Two Improv Masters Perform “Sightlines”

Dance Place is the region’s most reliable spot for local and touring modern dance, yes. But it’s also famous for its years-long loyalty to specific choreographers.

Daniel Burkholder and Sharon Mansur are two examples. This weekend, the Brookland venue hosts the duo's two-person show, "Sightlines." The dancers, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary of collaborating together, have been integrally involved with the organization for years, and have performed there multiple times.

The pair first met at Dance Place in 1991. “I got hired as the associate technical director, and she came in to do a summer internship,” says Burkholder. “Later that year, I was getting ready to do my very first concert out of college, and she was around and danced in a piece of mine, and did a solo. We kind of shared an evening.”

Since then, they’ve worked together in a variety of ways: co-teaching classes, directing a company together in the ‘90s, and collaborating on duets and group pieces.

Things have changed, of course. Both of them are pretty busy these days; Mansur is a professor of dance at the University of Maryland and Burkholder runs a company, Daniel Burkholder/The Playground. And they’ve gradually shifted from focusing on choreography to making improvisation a specialty—though both Burkholder and Mansur are such smooth, watchful movers that the show’s on-the-spot creation might not be immediately obvious.

“We’re very different in lots of ways, but there’s something when we work together that really clicks,” says Burkholder. “I think we’re able to really attune to each other with a great level of awareness and experience and sensitivity.”

“Sightlines” takes place at Dance Place at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday. $22.

An earlier version of this preview erroneously quoted Daniel Burkholder as having formerly served as Dance Place's associate director. He was the organization's associate technical director.

Photo by Stan Barouh

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