Prior to the October 1 main stage performance, DTW’s new studio series debuted with works choreographed by gorgeous dancer Eric Bradley, curated by Jeanine Durning.

Bradley employs engaging ideas, a broad movement palette, an open approach to composition and the use of space, and smart timing and energy variations. “Four Months, Two Years” was a solid and moving relationship duet for Bradley and Leila Zimble to music by Lord Buckley, James Brown, and Sheila Behman. Danced within the perimeter of a rectangle outlined on the floor in masking tape, the pair ebbed and flowed into each other’s space, slipping in and out of unison and connection. When Bradley took Zimble’s weight into his arms, it was an emotionally powerful, skin tingling event.

“Michigan Lite FM,” a work in progress for Zimble, Tori Sparks, and Eeny Aam was a decidedly un-ironic investigation of music, loud and soft, by Whitney Houston and Air Supply, marked by elbow grabs, and slinky, un-selfish self-absorption.

Bradley’s solo, “First Minute January Room,” showed off the choreographer’s dancing, and like the other works, was rare in its honesty. (Somehow, that’s always the case, ‘in the studio.’) He entered wearing an overstuffed, hiked up trench coat, his bare legs exposed, dragging a train of cardboard boxes behind him, large to small, strung together by a double length of rope. He disrobed and unruffled the stuffing––a two layer ballooning red skirt, his chest a mesh of black straps, a plastic heart hanging over his real one. Whether leaping, extending, or thrashing on the floor along a torn cardboard walkway, Bradley evoked empathy from the audience. His turn on the ‘end of the affair’ was tender, real, and heartbreaking.–

–Brian McCormick