A Tulip Unfolding
"Incorporating live music from percussionist/composer John Currey and recordings of sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, segments of M. Suzanne Ryan Strati’s 'A Tulip Unfolding' offered insight and sympathy for the trials of the disease for a powerful, emotional work."
Libby Hanssen, Kansas City Star February 7, 2016
"Suzanne Ryan’s [Ryanstrati] A Tulip Unfolding had the potential to be one of those “IMPORTANT MESSAGE PIECES” in the Mia Michaels on So You Think You Can Dance vein that all too often I find uncomfortable to watch and a bit tacky. Thankfully, what Ryan created was a bold artistic statement about living with Parkinson’s Disease and was devoid of saccharine artifice and melodramatic histrionics. In its place was the strongest local dancing and most intelligent choreography I’ve seen outside of the Kansas City Ballet this year. Percussionist John Currey accompanied the dancers along with prerecorded spoken word from those with Parkinson’s and their caretakers. The octet of dancers (Samantha Bennett, Branson Bice, Nora Burkitt, Katarina Fitzpatrick, DaJuan Johnson, Hezekiah Lasater, Grace Lewis, and Virginia Smith) were all equal parts powerful, athletic, graceful, technical, and emotive in their opening and closing group numbers. Each hinted at the individual stories to come with certain characteristics like a hand tremor, paralyzed leg, sloppy handwriting, and forgetfulness showcasing Ryan’s impressive formal structure to the entire work with its foreshadowing and later echoes. The inner movements were smaller routines based on true life stories titled “Claussen Duet,” “Quimby Parkinson Duet,” “Mary Trio,” “Jan Solo,” “Drew Solo.” The stories told were as powerful as the choreography and dancing. My personal favorites were those danced by the captivating Fitzpatrick (“Jan Solo”) and the ebullient Johnson in “Drew Solo.” Those selections could easily be replaced by the others but those stuck with me most. When the subjects of the piece joined the dancers for the final bow there was a much deserved standing ovation."
Lee Hartman, KC Metropolis July 23, 2015
"M. Suzanne Ryan Strati’s work, “A Tulip Unfolding,” included personal testimonies of those suffering from and fighting Parkinson’s disease. John Currey’s soft, live musical accompaniment enhanced the recording. The dancers did remarkable and heartbreaking work representing the individual lives, struggles, and stories of people living with Parkinson’s. The stories were moving as they shed light on the effects of this terrible disease. As someone who has a loved one dealing with this illness, I was incredibly affected and found myself wiping tears away as the dancers took their bows alongside the volunteers who were kind enough to offer their stories from which the piece was created."
Ashley Miller, KCMetropolis February 10, 2016
"The presentation started with audience members tromping onstage, attaching photographs of children to two ropes suspended parallel across the stage for Suzanne Ryan Strati’s “Somebodies.” Under these pictures and accompanied (a) spoken-word poem, Margarita Diaz Lutz moved with a ferocity that consumed the stage in a passionate anti-bullying display. Her final gesture emphasized the thump of her heartbeat."
Libby Hanssen, Kansas City Star Marc 1, 2015
"M. Suzanne Ryan’s dance “The Disappeared” explored issues of longing, grief, and the challenge of dealing with the disappearance of a loved one. Emotion-laden motion of the piece included the pinning of photographs to the dancers’ leotards. The dance ended with a powerful image of a much larger photograph, held by one dancer center stage, confrontationally pointed towards us."
David Ollington, KCactive Dance February 11, 2011
"The Disappeared, by Suzanne Ryan, gave voice to missing persons as each dancer pinned a picture to her dress and retold their stories through movement and expression. Ryan’s modern choreography and Arvo Pärt’s score were touching and the students did a commendable job of conveying emotion for the lost souls."
Laura Vermaci February 8, 2011
The Strength to be Willing
"Suzanne Ryan Strati’s 'The Strength to be Willing' evoked imagery of desperation and perseverance. The music by composer Jacob Gotlib included verbiage that intensified the yearning choreography with words such as “I can’t go on like this,” and the Lord’s Prayer. The dance stayed asymmetrical, belying an imbalance in the spirit."
David Ollington, KCactive February 10, 2010
"The Strength to be Willing by choreographer Suzanne Ryan Strati was a contemplative piece. Dancer Kat Kimmitz was effective when she opened this intense work set to a sound montage, The Tower of Babble by Jacob Gotlib. There were scenes of running and bowing over as other dancers entered. It had good use of the floor and asymmetry. It conveyed carrying a burden and yearning for escape. It expressed the human condition and connected well even though there were many layers to the dance and the sounds....strong elements of Postmodernism."
Scott Easterday, KCMetropolis February 9, 2010
"Strati asked the dancers about memories of their grandparents, Skowronek said. “Then she worked with them on movement phrases that connected to the words and put together a kind of collage, so the dancers are speaking words and also dancing. “It’s very poignant, but some of this dialogue is very funny, so the audience will also be laughing. I think it’s unusual in one piece of choreography to have your emotions range from hilarious laughter to real sadness and sorrow.”
Patrick Neas, Kansas City Star, April 26 2014