The GroundWorks Garden

GroundWorks Dance Theater brings grace to the garden.

Snowflakes sparkle outside the Cleve-land Botanical Garden’s Glasshouse, reminding us it’s still winter. But inside Clark Hall, a new relationship is in bloom.

For the second year, greenery and artistry converge as GroundWorks DanceTheater takes up residence in the garden.

CBG executive director Brian Holley has always been a fan of dance, and he was eager to do something with GroundWorks after getting to know artistic director and founder David Shimotakahara during their work on a commission for the Cleveland Partnership for Arts and Culture.

“It fits really well with how we wanted to engage people,” he says. “We want to use the gardens as a venue instead of simply a place to learn about plants.”

This year, guest choreographer Gina Gibney will open with “Return,” which includes an original score by local composer Ryan Lott. The piece starts with one dancer and evolves into a duet, then a quartet. Coming full circle, it ends with a solitary dancer, signifying a loss of something or someone. “It’s a very quiet piece,” says Shimotakahara. “It’s very contemplative and meditative.”

The second and last piece, “Book of Water,” choreographed by Shimotakahara, brings together five dancers through various songs with fluid movements of rowing, swimming and other movements associated with water.

With its floral background, the dance should remind us of another water-based movement: growth.

GroundWorks performs at Cleveland Botanical Garden Jan. 27-29. For more information, call (216) 721-1600.

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