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Professional Dance Company at Ball State

The world renowned dance company Sidra Bell Dance New York brings art to Muncie through a dance that’s always changing. 

The dance Monster Outside may be new to Muncie, but it’s not a brand new piece. In fact, it’s undergone a lot of editing. Sidra Bell, the company director, first started the piece three years ago working with Per Storby, the Swedish composer who created the live music that goes along with the piece.

“We started with just phone conversations, and we both wanted to comment on the idea of outsiders and outliers in society,” Bell said. 

And that was when Monster Outside was born. Since the initial idea, the dance content has developed throughout America and Europe and has stayed true to its focus. 

“After performing the piece for the first time a year and a half ago, we’ve started to look at the piece as a work that exists. But, we still want to keep developing and exploring it. We ask ourselves how to keep digging under the skin of it [the dance] even more,” Bell said. 

Bell’s company has six of dancers in the piece. While some of them were present for the total piece development, not all were. For Maurisa Christo-George, who learned this piece in about a month, it’s been a fast-paced but rewarding experience.

“Knowing all the history and research that’s gone into the piece has allowed me to find freedom in the unfamiliarity,” Christo-George said. 

Bell says she tries not to dictate the work. She encourages her dancers to add input and their own creativity to the dances. Misa Lucyshyn has been with the company for four years and says it’s this mindset that keeps their work fresh. 

“The way we work in the studio is all research based. Practice serves as an incubator for curiosity, and new ideas are generated every day,” Lucyshyn said. 

What the audience can expect to see at the show is live contemporary dance that is fresh in the moment. Dancers say their work will be organic, and while there is set choreography, choices are made in the moment; each time they perform is different. For some, that would cause uncertainty, but for Bell, it’s the complete opposite.

“Allowing myself to continue to research and develop new material, concurrent to re-staging a work keeps the atmosphere live and hot,” Bell said. 

The show premieres tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Emens Auditorium, and tickets can be purchased right up to show time.