Founded in 2002 by Heather and Beth Megill, Megill & Company (MeCo) has produced over 15 evening length dance performances and 6 original musicals. At 2 PM on March 26 – 27, 2022 MeCo will present its new evening length work Odd Birds featuring the company’s unique style that blends modern dance, jazz dance, and theater into high-spirited show. Odd Birds will feature original music by from the winners of the 2021 Music for Dance Competition, including Michael Wall (1st Place), Alison Vance (2nd Place) and Katy Morey (3rd Place). The performance will take place in a large barn-like space called the Brandeis Collegiate Institute Recreation Hall. More specific information will be provided upon making reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Megill stated that the seed for creating Odd Birds began with a line in from a song by Katy Morey that says “I’m a scavenger bird” that slowly crept into her subconscious while simultaneously believing that feeling “odd” is something we all experience in our lives at one point or other. These two experiences found their way into the title of her new work Odd Birds.
“We all have felt like we don’t fit it, or perhaps we actually don’t fit in,” Megill said. “For instance, I have never really matched popular dance aesthetics and trends in the LA area. I feel like an Odd Bird as a choreographer, making dances that are anti-sensational, subdued, quirky, and absurdist in order to highlight the complexities of the human experience. I’ve resorted to identifying MeCo as its own technique because it lives so far outside of the current contemporary practices.”
In their press release MeCo describes how their technique “emphasizes rhythm and dynamic range to convey human stories that are sweet, touching, and appropriately absurd.” I asked Megill to explain her approach further and how it relates to the new work.
“Coming out of COVID,” she said. “I am witnessing a real disconnect between people. There is a lot of anxiety, fear, suspicion, wariness of others. We are trying to come together in “normal” ways, but nothing is feeling quite normal yet. We are returning to life feeling like outsiders, or at least I am. What was easy and natural now feels strained and hard, what was exciting now feels anxiety-ridden. Digital spaces dominate the fabric of our lives, and the real world feels—somehow unreal. But rather than turn dark about it, my sense is to highlight it and make commentary about the absurdity of it all. It is odd. We are odd. So, let’s dance about it.”
Via their work, MeCo strives to foster the arts and nurture artists and has recently entered into providing services through dance notation courses and tools as well as an annual music for dance competitions. There are four performers in Odd Birds; Erin Sofley who has been with MeCo since 2007, Brooklynn Revees-Mallett who joined in 2011, new comer Morpheus Kostromin, and Megill. Sofley, Revees-Mallett and Kostromin studied with Megill at Moorpark College where she is on faculty, and all three have further studied Language of Dance (Motif Notation) which directly impacts that nature of Megill’s creative process.
“Sharing a common dance language and movement analysis skill-set allows for ease in communication and rapid rehearsal process”, Megill stated. “We are a company of busy people who also love to dance. We rehearse once a week and need to make every minute count.”
MeCo seeks to find ways to make dance a rewarding experience, to realize that dance and art are part of the fabric of everyone’s being and that Odd Birds “is designed for people looking to find the sweetness of life and to celebrate its awe-inspiring beauty through movement.” Megill stressed that the cast of Odd Birds are real people with real bodies and real lives. They are a mix of mothers, corporate professionals, and students. “We are the every-person in dance doing what we can to connect with themes outside of the current trends of hyper-emotionalism and competition in order to foster community, individuality, and balanced-living,” she added.
WHAT: Megill & Company presents Odd Birds
WHEN: March 26 – 27, 2022 at 2 PM (PDT)
WHERE: Brandeis/Simi Valley
TICKETS: By Donation ($20-$25 recommended) – Reservations required through your favorite MeCo dancer or by emailing Artistic Director Beth Megill at email@example.com.
Additional information regarding the performance space, parking and any changes in safety standards will be provided through email upon making reservations.
Ventura County has eliminated its mask mandate so MeCo will be honoring the current county COVID protocols, which recommend but do not require masks in shared spaces. The performance space is large and airy and audience members are encouraged to set up their chairs in a configuration that makes them feel comfortable and safe.
Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Megill & Company in “Odd Birds” – Photo courtesy of MeCo