New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women and girls. Click
here to see a sample of our products and a list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always performance
at its best.
back to Flash Reviews
Flash Review 1, 10-2: An Early Winter's
Laurence Lemieux/Coleman & Lemieux: What's Your Story?
By Tom Patrick
Copyright 2001 Tom Patrick
NEW YORK -- Hard to believe that
New York's seasons would shift into winter so crisply as September's calendar
page flips to October's, but there we were: shivering in the sanctuary of Saint
Mark's Church Sunday night as a frigid rain pelted the East Village. Given the
recent state of things here in the City, I was doubly hoping for someone to light
a (contained) fire by which we might draw light and warmth in these unsteady times.
And who better than our cousins from Canada, long the experts in fighting off
the elements and wild reminders of Life's harshness?
Laurence Lemieux's "Novembre" was
the night's first offering in this installment of Danspace Project's "Global Exchange/Quebec!
NY 2001. Right away I was burdened by a troublesome question or two that accompanies
a lot (if not all) of my audienceship: "What do you want to show us? What do you
want to tell us?" These may be the products of a native skepticism, and do not
always let me see things in a virginal way, but I'm not attending as a writer
while pretending to be unsullied by points-of-view acquired as a dancer etc. Since
there weren't enough press materials to go around -- a mixed blessing, as some
tell too much and some too little -- I had to find my answers completely in The
Thing itself, the artist's thesis and expansion on it.
"Novembre" emerged quite a bit more
subtly than October was doing out in the streets. As subdued lighting (by Pierre
Lavoie) came up to reveal Ms. Lemieux onstage, looking vulnerable in her bare
feet (the three men sharing the piece were all shod, sturdily-so), she began with
simple phrasing that showed a great amplitude and articulation as a dancer. Upstage,
Anthony de Mare on the piano (how good music can sound in the Saint Mark's space!)
tentatively dipped in and out of something that first resembled Satie as Lemieux
continued and a pair of men huddled together and slowly advanced downstage. Once
the soloist yielded the stage, these gents took off in their own directions, all
but abandoning their conspiratorial tone. The drama which might have been there
was a red herring, and now seemed to be two simultaneous monologues, wrestling
for my attention. It was a mode which would endure for much of the 50 minutes
of this "Novembre." There followed other solos and groupings, but most were curiously
devoid of clear rhythmic impulse or interconnection of persons, beyond the mechanics
of occasional partnering.
I was always confronted with the
talent of these dancers, obviously facile and trained, with nary a misstep. There
were sinuous moves, yes, beautiful smooth torque as their backs worked, surely....
But I was periodically bothered by those questions: What do you want to tell us?
What do you want to show us? As the pianist constantly stopped and resumed playing
("Souvenir and Pillar of Snails," by Christopher Butterfield) I grew concerned
at my feelings that this was an affair of continually-interrupted momentum. I
found it hard to detect an arc that held a direction, before the board would be
wiped clean and some new state of mind would prevail. Yet each beginning was more
like a renewal of the same introductory comments, low-key and somewhat perfunctorily
delivered. I sat wishing that someone would let the motive continue and reveal
itself. This is certainly more of an editing criticism than a choreographic one.
Obviously there was meaning afoot, but seemed much of the time to be lost in its
own code.... That I cannot crack that code does not invalidate it. Certainly the
execution was professional and quite intentional. But my sensation was of four
souls disconnected, without a clue as to how they might have been connected or
who they were.
Of course, that begs all kinds of
questions...but assuming an implied connection: perhaps I was really seeing a
large collection of vignettes, inner lives of people passed on the street as told
in their eyes and then extrapolated in the studio. Or maybe these were unresolved
issues being forever played out by souls who have left this Earthly realm. But
I doubt that. Even a secondhand view of someone's interior experience could not
be so free of passion or spikes of feeling. The performers of Coleman & Lemieux
carried on with aplomb and an inner steadiness that confounded me. Their disconnection
from each other while sharing the stage began to wear on my attention, and I began
to wonder how to integrate their monologues into meaning. The dancing personnel
changed a lot between the four of them over the almost-hour, and Ms. Lemieux seemed
always subsequently to appear as a solo figure. I wondered again at the significance
of her bared feet, in contrast to the Florsheims on all the men...is she the Dear
Departed? Indeed --perhaps ironically -- her dancing came closest to lighting
that fire that I mentioned, the one that shares and that reminds us of our humanity.
In a closing interlude, she sought (or succumbed to?) the floor, as white flakes
of a November snow escaped from her fingers, swirling magically in the veil of
back to Flash Reviews