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Flash Review 1, 10-16: Burn Baby Burn
Tracing the Tracers of Hurricane Latsky

By Maura Nguyen Donohue
Copyright 2001 Maura Nguyen Donohue

NEW YORK -- Heidi Latsky is a force of nature. This woman can slice and balance, slash and burn her way through movement like nobody's business. On Saturday night Latsky, a hometown favorite, and her cast of 24 dancers and three live musicians brought in a packed house to Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church. It was as great to see such an audience, during a time of event cancellations and sub-par turnout, as it was to witness Latsky's ferocity. Though the evening stumbled through some painful silliness early on, it ended with incredible power and poignancy.

Latsky's opening duet with Todd Allen, after a rousing musical introduction from Marty Beller and Roderick L. Jackson, was titled "Just Watch!" So, I did as she asked. I didn't take any notes, or examine or prewrite my review. I just watched and they just danced. Watching "I'm Dying to Lift You," however, was something I could have gladly passed on if not for fine performances of the elegant Bella Malinka and the amusing Jim Martin. After an unfortunately brief solo -- brilliantly danced Saturday by the vibrant Catey Ott -- the dance quickly descends into the kind of quirky silliness that would demolish any discussion of the importance or worth of dance during times like these. It's not that comedy isn't valuable in the wake of incredible horrors and grieving -- it is -- but today I just don't have the stomach for absurd butt dances and posturing.

Thankfully, Latsky chose to provide her searing solo "What would you have done?" excerpted from "Worst Case Scenario," immediately after. This is one of those dances that tears through you and leaves you gasping. She carves her way through the space with powers greater than any human should possess, and especially not one as tiny as her. She thrashes and gyrates herself beyond real time into an optical illusion, moving so fast our eyes can't keep up, and we end up watching tracers of her limbs flying through the space. This dance grabs you in your gut and invites such a visceral experience from the audience as to incite spontaneous combustion throughout the hallowed sanctuary at St. Mark's Church.

"One Apart" closed the program by finally putting the, 'til now over-qualified, ensemble of first-class dancers to work. It begins slowly and sneaks up on you until there are bodies spinning and flying everywhere. I finally understood why these dancers were here and have been slide-step-stepping themselves through uninspired transitions. The dancing was formidable, the moments profoundly moving and the end heartbreakingly beautiful. This was worth it.

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